Welcome spring, and birds

by Rob Tiller

This morning, the second day of spring, and the first Saturday, I made it to the gym for a swim while it was still dark, and got to Ritter Park just as the sun was coming up.  Ritter has  playground with swings, a ball field, a picnic shelter, and a trail that runs by a creek.  It’s not a remarkable park, but it’s convenient for me.

For the first time in some months I got my binoculars out and scouted for birds.  I saw chickadees, cardinals, robins, tufted titmice, and goldfinches, and heard along with those a red tailed hawk.  Just the usual local birds, but I’m hoping to see migrants in the coming weeks.

This week the NYT reported that a third of the bird species in the U.S. were endangered, threatened, or in serious decline.   http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/20/science/earth/20bird.html?emc=eta1.  Some of the causes are short term, like urban sprawl and logging, and part is probably climate change.  

This is disturbing news.  The broad decline is consistent with my experience.  Each year, there seem to be fewer birds to see.

Still, it’s great to take some time to breathe deeply and listen and look at these amazing creatures.