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Birding for Mother's Day

In helping Calvin prepare for is Science Olympiad bird test, the two of us spent a number of days out hiking nearby woods and preserves. We've always enjoyed nature, and birding was a casual pastime for me—casual as in I put out feeders and make sure they're filled, and when out on hikes I keep my eyes peeled and snap as many pictures as I can. But this more recent involvement has pushed this casual pastime closer to full blown hobby.

And the timing of the Olympiad couldn't have been more perfect. Not only because it took place in spring, when the birds are busy mating and nesting in a leafless tree canopy, but also because it aligned almost perfectly with peak migration time. Hike after hike we found ourselves surrounded beautiful birds we rarely get to see, some of them just brief visitors in our area.

For Mother's Day this year I requested two things. The first was a breakfast of eggs benedict, which my two boys delivered with great success. The second was an early morning hike through prime birding territory, and they delivered that, too. Eggs benedict, birding in a beautiful spring sun, a relaxing afternoon in the yard, and a delicious dinner with extended family at my parents' house. It was a perfect Mother's Day.

Some of my favorite shots from our recent birding expeditions:

Sandhill Crane (turning an egg in her nest)

Sandhill Crane

Yellow-rumped warbler

American bullfrog (not a bird)

American Redstart

Yellow warbler

Black-throated blue warbler

Common garter snake (again, not a bird)

Nashville warbler

Red-bellied woodpecker

White-breasted nuthatch

Magnolia warbler

Rufous-sided towhee

Rufous-sided towhee

Baltimore oriole (female)

Warbling vireo


Palm warbler

Wilson's warbler

Two birds of a feather

Blue-gray gnat catcher

Tree swallow

Chipping sparrow

Canada geese and Red-winged blackbird (female)

Tree swallow

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