Saturday, January 02, 2010

Something went crash and left a mess.

Red Breasted Sap Sucker, originally uploaded by

A couple of weeks ago we were eating lunch and Ethan asks why the window is "messy". I asked him to define "messy". He told me that there were feathers and other gunk on the window. He then looked down and told me that there was a big bird in the yard.

Years ago when I was studying at UVIC (oh how I miss Victoria...) I took a bird identification course. It was basically a filler third year level course that I needed to get enough credits for my Biology degree. The only textbook required was Peterson's Field Guide to North American Birds, which was a bargain compared to the $100+ textbooks required for other classes. I quite enjoyed the course (not as much as the statistics class where we had to chase grasshoppers in open fields attempting to catch and mark them, but that is a whole other post).

I never did think that I'd use that knowledge that cost many thousands of dollars, but I do, almost daily. After examining the dead bird, looking through the field guide, we came to a consensus that it was in fact a Red Breasted Sap Sucker.  The kids were just fascinated, so much so that Nick asked if we could get a bird feeder. Normally we don't have them out as they are an attractant for the bears (which visited and played in our yard again this year), but most of them are hibernating at this point, so I figured why the hell not.

So the field guide is by the window, and almost every day one of the kids (even Renee) brings it over to see what type of bird is at the feeder.  We have had a huge variety, even the big woodpeckers having a go at the birdseed.  At least it is a break from the endless Star Wars and Lego!

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