For the Birds: New Year’s birding resolutions

Photo by Chris Bosak
Blue-headed vireo, Pillsbury State Park, N.H., June 2019.

Last year at this time I wrote about my New Year’s resolutions to help birds. They largely focused on citizen science projects I would either undertake for the first time or continue to be involved in.

Looking back, I could say that I did fairly well with my resolutions. Some of them, however, like most resolutions, just never came to fruition.

I did participate in a number of citizen science projects. I have done the Christmas Bird Count and the Great Backyard Bird Count for many years continuously. This past year was no exception.

Also, last year was the second year of the three-year Connecticut Breeding Bird Atlas, an ambitious project to document what birds are breeding in that state. I have an adopted area and look forward to this spring to add to my breeding bird list. I also beefed up this past year my contributions to eBird, a free app in which all reported sightings are entered into a massive database.

I fell short in a few areas. I never did take the steps to join Project FeederWatch, which I had vowed to do. Maybe this year.

I will take a slightly different approach to my bird New Year’s resolutions this year. I will continue to do the citizen science projects, of course, but will also add some resolutions of a different sort.

I have been thinking about and being encouraged to write a book or two about my birding adventures. I haven’t done so after all these years because I wasn’t sure how to go about it or even how to take the first step. Well, like anything, the first step is committing to doing it and getting started, no matter if it’s the right place to start or not. So this year I resolve to take that first step.

I also want to expand my birding network throughout New England. I have many friends in the birding community and it is a community that is open and very willing to share knowledge. This year, I hope to attend more birding events, go on more bird walks in the company of others, and visit some places I haven’t been to yet.

Many years ago, I made a resolution to learn a few new bird songs. It was so many years ago that I can’t remember if I actually did learn anything new that year or not. At any rate, I’m going to repeat that resolution. I can recognize many bird songs and calls, but there are plenty more to commit to memory. I am reminded of that every spring when the warblers and vireos start singing from the leafy trees.

Speaking of vireos … my final resolution is to learn that family of birds better. Vireos are small, migratory songbirds that return to us every spring. They are typically less colorful than warblers and hang out in the tops of trees. They do have distinctive songs that can give away their identification and I plan to learn a few more this year. I know a few of the vireos pretty well, but there are at least six that inhabit New England during the spring and summer. Now about those flycatchers …

What about you? Do you have any bird or nature-related resolutions? Drop me a line and let me know.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Blue-headed Vireo perches in a tree at Selleck’s/Dunlap Woods on Sunday, May 4, 2014.

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