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Birding from Inside

Jason McCue is the newest member of the BirdNote communications team. A recent graduate of Seattle University’s environmental studies program, he is excited to work with the incredible BirdNote team and community of listeners.

Ahh, how I’ve longed for April. The winter is coming to an end, making way for a much-anticipated spring. The sun is awakening our spirits, the breeze is crisp and exciting, and the flowers are pointing toward the sky. This seems like a perfect opportunity to go birding. I don’t think there’s a better way to celebrate the entrance of April than by observing the earth’s avian beauty! Let me just grab my binoculars, my hat, and . . .

Oh, what’s that? There’s currently a pandemic, and the world is being urged to stay at home?

Not to worry, I can still observe birds from my window. As I type, I see an Anna’s Hummingbird on the other side of the glass. Ooh, and there goes a Dark-eyed Junco!

Anna's HummingbirdAnna's Hummingbird

Spring 2020 has been emotional, to say the least, for the entire world. Social distancing and home isolation have been mentally exhausting. However, if there’s one thing that gives me comfort during these bizarre times, it’s that I can still witness the beauty of the natural world every day. The birds I see outside my window allow me to connect mentally and spiritually with the joy and wonder of nature.

Birdwatching from home also gives me a better sense of which birds live in my neighborhood. After all, these birds are my neighbors -- and some of my favorite ones, at that.

Last week, we asked you what birds you can see from your window. And you’ve been diligent observers! We received reports from all over North America. It’s incredible to know how many folks are taking the time to marvel at our feathered friends during this unusual period of quarantine.

Here’s a handful of observations you shared:

Rose, in Southeast Arizona, has spotted a wide array of birds from her home every day, including a Lesser Goldfinch, Mourning Doves, Gila Woodpeckers, a Hooded Oriole and a Vermilion Flycatcher.

Gila Woodpecker by Owen DeutschGila Woodpecker

Becky, from Portland, Oregon, wakes up to the songs of House Finches and observes Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, Osprey, Spotted Towhees, and Turkey Vultures during her visits to a local park.

In Portage, Michigan, Gary spotted Sandhill Cranes high in the sky, and he heard Song Sparrows singing.

Beth, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, spotted Song Sparrows, grackles, juncos, and Red-winged Blackbirds.

Common Grackle by Owen DeutschCommon Grackle

Elaine recently relocated from Seattle to the countryside outside the city. Her list included Chestnut-backed Chickadees, a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers, and a thrush that occasionally sits in her apple tree.

In Toronto, according to Nancy, Red-winged Blackbirds and American Robins are among the birds she has observed so far this spring.

Thank you to everyone who shared backyard birding observations. It was truly heart-warming to read your stories and learn how the BirdNote community is staying connected with birds and nature during this uncertain time. And here’s what former BirdNote board member, Dr. J. Drew Lanham, recently shared on his Facebook page:

Why am I posting pictures of birds? Because seeing them, listening to them, absorbing them, loving them -- is the same as meditation or prayer -- or hope for good things; for better days. I found that power in my backyard -- at home. Right now I need every bit of positive energy I can get. My family needs it. Every feather. Every song. Every wild flying one. Should I ever need that energy for my own household's health and well-being, please send me birds. It will be considered love.

White-winged Dove by Owen DeutschWhite-winged Dove

From all of us here at BirdNote, we’re sending you love, light, and our best wishes for your health and safety. And we appreciate the love and caring messages that continue flowing to us. Thank you!

Want to know more about the birds mentioned here? Check out these BirdNote shows:

Cheery American Robin
Who Was Anna?
A Young Bewick's Wren Learns to Sing
Meet the Blue Jay
Why Do Chickadees Come and Go?
Cooper's Hawks
Dark-eyed Junco Pair
Making a Home Among the Saguaros
The Female Oriole Weaves a Nest
House Finches - Red and Yellow
Message of the Mourning Dove
No Pounding Headache
Clever Nuthatches
Red-winged Blackbird Harem
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Leaping with Sandhill Cranes
Scrub-Jays Plan Breakfast
Spotted Towhee
Song Sparrow in your Brush Pile
Secretive Varied Thrush
Vermilion Flycatcher
Western Tanagers Are Flashes of Bright Color

All photos © Owen Deutsch