Birding Year Round in NE Missouri — April-June
April All the birding destinations I enjoy going to in the first three months of the year don’t have much to show for birds any more. Most of the Bald Eagles, gulls, and pelicans have moved from the riverfront, each to their own breeding areas. The non-resident raptors from along the highways have left.
Birding Year Round in NE Missouri — January - March
January The holidays are over and I’m excited to get out and explore. The birds at my feeders are cute and interesting to watch, but the start of the new year inspires me to find other birds in their natural habitats. However, my usual birding spots are difficult to access. The roads are often icy, and slowly, quietly wandering around a forest in below freezing temperatures just doesn’t sound fun. I’m not likely to see a whole lot of birds anyway, only a few species that overwinter here, because nobody is coming north for a good while yet.
Binoculars for Young Birders
At the time of our first trip with the Iowa Young Birders* (an experience described in another story), our family did not own any binoculars, and I never had one growing up. Since then, several pairs found their way to our home — different sizes, shapes, sharpness, field of view, magnification, phase correction. Features I had no idea about at first. I didn’t know why they mattered and what would be best to purchase for my daughter, then 7 years old and obsessed with looking for birds. Now she’s 13 and has been using various binoculars over the years, so I asked her what she thought about each.
A Rare Find
Story by Zita Robertson I pulled the covers over my head, half awake, listening to my Mom packing walnuts and cashews for our end-of-May birding trip. It was still dark outside, but Cleveland, my rooster, really wanted it to be morning, and he was crowing continuously. Finally, I got out of bed and let him and the hens out. We didn’t have time for breakfast, because we wanted to be at our favorite Missouri state park by sunrise.
A Typical Quest
Story by Zita Robertson Loretta set the thick, dusty Encyclopedia of Birds on her desk, and let it fall open. She allowed herself a quick glance, and saw that the words on the page started with a T. While she put her backpack beside the chair and changed into something more comfortable, she tried to think of bird names with a T. Tufted Puffin… Tricolored Heron… Tennessee Warbler… She was excited to see what new information she could find out about all of them from her new book. She discovered the ancient volume in a dark, musty corner of the public library after school, and she was ready to sit down in her favorite reading nook by the window to dive in.
What’s the Point?
The other day, I refused my kids’ very reasonable request to skip a problem in math class. They argued, from the only point of view available to them, that of a fourth grader and a seventh grader, that they had already mastered the technique necessary to solve the problem. They said they’d simply need to use the same process they had used for the previous problem, only with different numbers.
My First Iowa Young Birder Field Trip
I was taking mental notes faster than any other time since the midwife told me about the expected changes in my newborn daughter’s weight, skin color, and bowel movements, while my baby alternately slept or screamed to be fed. I was on my first field trip with the Iowa Young Birders, and once again my daughter, now seven years old, knew exactly what she was doing, and I was out of my element, in a completely new world.
The Roads of Ruleville
In the town of Ruleville, they had rules for everything. Some were good and useful, and the People of Ruleville were happy to comply. Others were leftover from the first King of Ruleville many-many decades ago. The People of Ruleville often broke these rules and if they got caught, they were punished.
Eat What's on Your Plate
Meet Meredith and David “Let’s not go this way,” Meredith said, with her left arm reaching to the back seat, stroking baby Gloria’s leg. These were the times she was grateful to have a tiny car. Gloria was finally not crying, about to fall asleep.
Dear Adults, I’m not supposed to say this, but you really suck at this hero stuff. Well, most of you. You drag me through exhibitions and show me paintings and sculptures of long-ago famous people. You make me feel bad for not knowing the name of a president or the general who led the battle to save our nation.