Want to help count the birds on Global Big Day? It’s as easy as downloading an app! | Home & Garden



Even if you’re a rookie birder, you can join some of the world’s greatest team of birders on Global Big Day, May 14, an annual celebration of the birds around you, wherever you live. Here, local birdwatchers gather on the causeway at Lake Onota in Pittsfield on March 16 after learning of a rare sighting of tundra swans at the edge of the lake.


Even if you’re a rookie birder, you can join the greatest team of birders on Global Big Day, an annual celebration of the birds around you, wherever you live. The great world day, May 14, is celebrated on World Migratory Bird Dayan annual awareness campaign highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats.

Want to get involved? It’s easy to share the birds you see with the Cornell Lab eBird app or on ebird.org.

“Participating is easy”, according to ebird.org“You can even be part of Global Big Day from your backyard or wherever you are. If you can spare an hour, more, or even just 5 or 10 minutes, then report your bird sightings to eBird online or with the free service eBird Mobile App. If you have more time throughout the day, you never know what you might see. Your observations will help to understand world bird populations.”

Last year, Global Big Day brought together birdwatchers from more countries than ever before, the website says. More than 51,000 people from 192 countries submitted 134,000 checklists with eBird, setting four new world records for single-day birding. To learn more about the eBird app and website, go to ebird.org. Learn more about the big world day on globalbirding.org.

No, that cardinal at the window is not spying on you.  He thinks his reflection is a cardinal intruder


Q: I wondered about something I saw late last spring in an old laundry tub when I was helping a friend clean up her yard. It was full of water and yuck at the bottom. There were several rope-like things twisting in it. They were certainly alive. Not knowing if they were dangerous, I threw the pan away and left it upside down. Can you mention anything about these things?

—Ed M., North Adams

A: They were horsehair worms and not a problem or dangerous (at least for us). Often found in a tangle of dozens of tangled masses, these worms can be found in the spring, and sometimes later throughout the summer. They have a variety of stories about their origin, the one I know best, and the most common is the “hair worm”, which refers to the old belief that they came from horse hair that fell into troughs and came to life. .

They are long, easily a foot long or a little longer, and very thin and even. The ones I encountered were light tan, some close to white, although they could be yellow, dark brown, or black.

They mate in spring, early summer, or fall, often coiling around females in pools of fresh water or even moist soil. Once they hatch, immature horsehair worms infect a host like crickets, grasshoppers, dragonflies, slugs, and other creatures like beetles and katydids later in the season.

Q: I’m so excited to have bluebirds at my suet feeder. I couldn’t put in sunflower seeds this winter and was a little late putting in my beef suet and then my suet blocks. For at least two weeks I have had two pairs of bluebirds feeding on the suet feeders and the suet that fell on the ground.

I have never had bluebirds at my feeders before. So was surprised and grateful to see them. Their colors are quite bright. Could these be the first migrants? Or do they keep their beautiful colors during the winter?

—Carol Ann, Hinsdale

A: Their adult plumage remains essentially the same color throughout the year. Their blue depends on the light and the males appear gray-brown from a distance. Females are grayish above with bluish wings and tail; with a pale orange-brown breast. Immature bluebirds are duller.

In the late 1800s and early 20th century, extremely cold winters decimated their numbers, along with the effects of pesticides and increased competition from house sparrows and house wrens and a decline in farm numbers. Since then, recovery has increased, in part due to the many bluebird houses being installed. Spring arrivals begin in early March, but wintering birds have also increased in number in recent years.

Many NatureWatch readers have reported that bluebirds are helped during the winter by feeding freeze-dried mealworms, purchased by mail or from local stores that supply wild bird food. Our wintering bluebirds were content to eat the fruits of our winter berries and crabapples, although I provided mealworms and suet in the crabapple tree.


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