Time to fluff up the feathers…Its Go Birding Day…lockdown style!
Parts of this posting were written for FGASA and appeared on their official social media pages.
Due to the current COVID-19 lockdown enforced here in South Africa, Go Birding Day will take on a whole new meaning. Perhaps it should be known as Stay at Home Birding Day 2020?
Male and female Pin-tailed Whydah. In this picture, the male is in breeding plumage with his long tail feathers which are part of his courtship ritual.
What was the intended objective of Go Birding Day?
The origin and history of this day are unknown. It seems to have evolved organically with the collective objective being the enjoyment of watching birds for non-scientific reasons.
Seeing that we are not allowed out due to the enforced lockdown, we must wait for the birds to come to us. And for that reason good preparation is essential.
Go-Away Bird (AKA Grey Loerie)
To get ready for the Go Birding Day 2020, you could:
Download a birding App to your phone.
Hang up bird feeders. Remember to prepare for both seed eaters and fruit eaters.
Build a birdhouse or a feeding tray…if you have the tools and equipment at home. Watch YouTube tutorials to help with this.
Set up your camera so that you are ready to take pictures of whatever species visit your garden.
If you live in an apartment, you can place a feeding station on your balcony.
What are the best times to look for birds?
In the early morning, when birds will be looking out for food.
If you have a pond or a bird-bath, then late morning and early afternoon might be a better option as they like to drink and bathe at those times.
If you find one of these in YOUR garden, then I suggest that you call the police. Or check to see if all your family members are still present and accounted for.
There are close to 10,000 different species of birds worldwide. While in South Africa there are 850 species of which 725 are residents (or annual visitors) and of those, 50 species found here only!
Herons have been known to frequent urban gardens, specifically if the gardens have large ponds that contain fish and possibly frogs.
Rufous-naped Lark doing a territorial ‘dance’.
Here are some interesting avian facts to ponder on while waiting for birds to land in your garden:
The Ostrich is the largest flightless bird on earth, with cassowary and emus at second and third respectively.
Some scientists believe that birds evolved from dinosaurs.
Bird’s bones are hollow.
The most common domesticated bird is the chicken.
The most numerous non-domesticated bird in the world is the Red-billed Quelea, with more than a billion individuals worldwide.
If you find one of these in your garden, then I suggest that you bring all your pets indoors until it has left.
This species seems to have set up homes in almost every water source in South Africa. They have even been known to take up residence in homes with swimming pools, where they will bring up their young.
This is the South African Bird of the Year for 2020. This large turkey-like hornbill is frequently found in the Kruger National Park. I have a feeling that it will not be seen in urban gardens.
So, get out your camera and binocs, put out food (for both you and the birds) and prepare to be amazed and delighted by what visits you on the day.
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