I’m a birder and I report what I see to Cornell University’s e-Bird citizen scientist project. Ornithologists can’t rely on just themselves to know how the birds are doing. They need scouts, so they recruit the likes of me and Mimi. We became birders because Mom was a grad student at Cornell and got to know how important it was for regular people to pitch in. Citizen Science is way to “crowd source.” Besides e-Birding with Cornell, I could collaborate with Planet Hunters, Landslide Reporter, or Floating Forests, to name just a few.
We submit a daily e-Bird list. Mimi gives me ideas for what to keep an eye out for. For instance, one morning she just said, Watch for mixed flocks of nuthatches, chickadees, titmice. If we’re lucky, maybe a White-throated Sparrow. So, with such bird nuggets for guidance, I grab our Bird Notebook, the bins (I use Mom’s), the easy chair in a bag, and find a birding spot. I favor the shade made by a graceful, arched and hanging, peeling group of Silver Birch at the edge of the woodsy North yard that faces the sunnier, shrubby West yard next to our harvested gardens and Miss Mary’s farm. Lots of different ecological niches. Birding distracts me the way the read-alouds do: my sorrows and the Preliminary Hearing fade into the background.
Until a new human meanders in.