While beginning my morning urban farmer tasks this past Monday, I enjoyed my first bird encounter for 2013. Five Western Bluebirds joined me in the winterized garden, flying over the leaf mulch and exploring the morning at Pringle Creek Community. A neighbor was with me and saw them immediately, the excitement of what we were witnessing could be heard in his voice as he spoke of being on the lookout for these small birds all year.

Image by Alan D. Wilson via www.naturespicsonline.com

Neighbors living in and around our community often see wildlife making the skies, creek and natural areas their homes throughout the year. Watching for and learning about these creatures is a welcomed opportunity.

The Salem Audubon Society (SAS) is a group of like minded people working to protect and connect people with Nature, especially its birds and wildlife. On their website they share, “we promote the enjoyment of wildlife and the stewardship of the environment with birding field trips, nature walks and other educational programs”. With volunteers they work to observe, conserve and restore their habitats,  educate the public and are involved in advocacy projects. 

One such SAS activity is the Christmas Birds Count. On December 15th, 2012, four team members ventured in to a chilly, windy and rainy morning, counting the birds they saw in the community. In a twenty minute window they observed:

Cackling Goose                            500
Red-Tailed Hawk                         1
Mourning Dove                            2
Western Scrub Jay                        2
Black-capped Chickadee              2
Bushtit                                          12
Red-breasted Nuthatch                 2
White-breasted Nuthatch              1
Brown Creeper                             1
Golden-crowned Kinglet              1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet                 2
Townsend’s Warbler                    1
Song Sparrow                              3
Dark-eyed Junco                          22

Total: 552 birds, 14 different species. Not to bad for the middle of winter!

We welcome you to join us at Pringle Creek Community to watch and enjoy these beautiful birds while walking around the property. For information about upcoming educational SAS workshops and field trips, visit: www.salemaudubon.org