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Launching my Big Year – from our balcony in Gatineau Quebec

January 13, 2012

Two friends and I are doing big years in 2012, in a limited, equalizing, and environmentally friendly low carbon footprint sort of way. All of the birds must be observed from our respective places of work. In their cases, these are outdoor education centres in Waterloo Region in Southern Ontario. In my case, it is from the house or property on rue Boucherville in Gatineau in which I live. My “official” work place is downtown Ottawa in an office, surrounded by concrete, glass and steel, so my secondary place, which I also often work at, is my home and that is where I am counting. As of January 12, I am at a meagre 9 species not to say I have really tried at all, other than watching the Chickadees at the sunflower feeder on the balcony, of the odd Junco scurrying out of sight after picking up some Chickaee scraps. I do predict that I will do well in the competition though. Near Gatineau Park, and not that far from the Ottawa River, I should get some interesing birds passing by. So far the list includes: Black-capped Chickadee, Sitelle (White-breasted Nuthatch), Downy Woodpecker (which my wife calls a Cuckoo because of the way it moves its head – you have to imagine a little kid hiding behind a box of cereal, and quickly poking her head around one side, and then the other), Hairy Woodpecker, American Crow, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch and Dark-eyed Junco. This weekend, when it is minus 20, I’ll be watchin from inside.

And I am rewarded with species 10 – Adult Cooper’s Hawk. Inevitable that good bird feeders take on another meaning as “bird feeders” for birds like the stealthy Cooper’s. My wife is not happy about this addition but I am.

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