May 28, 2018
Bird Watching, Birding in Waupaca, Wisconsin
By: Kerri Thiel
We recently had some guests at our Apple Tree Lane B&B who came for the bird watching. Now, I absolutely love nature, but I can't say I was an official bird watcher or birder. Yes, I learned from these guests that there is a difference, if you wanted to get technical. Bird watchers look at birds; birders look for them.
So to continue the story, they had their binoculars and camera in hand and excitedly headed out to roam our 7.5 acres and 400 ft. of Crystal River frontage, set among a historic apple orchard. I did tell them about our eagles nest down by the river, perched high up in an evergreen tree, across one of our two ponds. I told them right where to look, as the size was so big, you couldn't miss it, if you knew where to spot it. The last time I was down there, the timing was such that I was able to see the eagle fly out of the nest, and right over my head. Quite a sight!
I also told them that they didn't want to miss the geese that had built a nest close to the pond. The mother goose was guarding the 3 eggs that I saw and the father wasn't far away. I could see they were close to hatching. A family in the making---nature at its best!
My last tip was to make sure they go out on our covered porch, as the robins and wrens had built nests in our grapevines and also couldn't resist building in our hanging ferns. Really, all the bird houses and zillion trees weren't what you wanted for your house??!! Ok then, home sweet home it is! I will just carefully water those plants! I have taken the time to watch them build the nests, protect their eggs, and then fly with the worms for feedings after the eggs have hatched. I had even watched the baby robins fly out of the nest for the first time and hop along the ground. I remember hoping the mother would not be far away to help...when would they fly?!
Across from the covered porch is a white fenced garden with lots of perennials, bird bath, bird houses and feeder. I knew the hummingbirds quite well in this garden, and could watch their graceful motions for a long time!
Wait a minute...I do like birds but how do I make the leap to become a birder!? Your life is better with birds in it, they say! For all the beginners like me, it is a simple 3-step process:
1) Get excited and read up! Our guests told us their recommendation of "Pederson's Bird Guide Book". This field guide shows you the kind of birds, where they live, what seasons... Don't worry now about how to identify, just what's out there.
2) Gear up! Buy a pair of binoculars, a nice camera, and a spotting scope
3) Get out there! Look, listen, learn. Be amazed at the wonder of nature..
Back to our birding guests. In just a few short hours, they returned to the Inn, with the following list of the birds they saw:
Candada Goose, Wood Duck, House Wren, American Robin, Baltimore Oriole, Rufous-Sided Towhee, Chickadee, Starling, Yellow Warbler, Yellow Rumped Warbler, Hummingbird, Morning Dove, Eagle, Red Winged Black Woodpecker, and Black Warbler.
With their confirmation that our land alone was terrific for birding coupled with their enthusiasm, I am now a bird watcher---officially!
Gotta go, I have birds to find!