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Sitting under tree

Some birding groups have held “Big Sit” events where participants gather in a birdy area and watch for any birds that fly, swim, or hop by in order to count them. A contest or a bird count tally might be included. Of course eBird users can also log in the tally for the specific location.

For less experienced birders, it’s a great way to join with more experienced birders to learn from them and see how the birds are identified and counted.

While it has similarities to the Christmas Bird Count, in this case the counters are stationary, so they can focus on watching the birds that move through an area. Many “Big Sit” counts are done during either spring or fall migrations. During COVID times, it is an appealing way for a very small group or family to enjoy the outdoors while watching and counting birds in a favorite birding area. That may even be in your own front or back yard!

This comes to mind after we had a similar experience while “working” in our orchard on a sunny day in early March. The woodpeckers were putting on a show for us. We had males drumming all over the property. Northern Flickers were calling and drumming in three different directions from us. Three Red-breasted Sapsuckers were actively flying from garden fence posts to trees and back right in front of us. One flew from a tree over my husband’s head, and I thought it might land on him.

All were in their spring fever display prime and their colors were striking. A male Downy Woodpecker was displaying his red crest on an old snag nearby. A Hairy Woodpecker male was drumming at the top of another snag. Earlier in the day the Pileated Woodpeckers had been vocalizing. It turned into a woodpecker springtime extravaganza for us, and we sat on tree stumps to watch all this instead of “working.”

Taking the time to enjoy what nature offers is both a pleasure and a gift. I hope you can find a bird-filled place to watch as the spring birds arrive and put on their courtship displays!