Saturday, June 14, 2008

Learning from Mistakes

At breakfast this morning, we all reminisced about our “early” days in birding… way back in the fall of 2006. As we discussed our favorite moments, I recalled some of the boys first attempts at identifying birds...

One morning while I was washing dishes, BT (6-years-old at the time) came running from the classroom (which is in on the opposite side of the house from the kitchen), yelling, “Mommy! Mommy! I just saw a Scarlet Macaw in the back yard.” I knew it could not be a macaw, but, in case we needed to call the folks at Guinness, I went to the classroom window and took a look. To Ben’s disappointment, it was only a Northern Cardinal.

A few days later, Bruster (5-years-old at the time) yelled, “Mommy! Mommy! I see a Roadrunner.” As we live in Georgia, I was once again very doubtful, but, to be fair, I took a look anyway. Not a roadrunner… a Brown Thrasher (our state bird, btw).

As I told them these stories today, they laughed, and we all recognized how far we have come in two years. I also remembered that I have been meaning to put together a "life list" for them. This is a record that most birders keep to help them remember their sightings. So, from mounds of check lists scattered here and there, I have compiled the following list of birds the boys have successfully identified. It is not as detailed as I would like, as I have omitted when and where the birds were spotted, but it is an accurate list of what they have seen in the last two years.

As I typed this list and saw how long it is, I realized how much little kids can accomplish when we encourage them and give them the grace to learn from their mistakes.

Our Life List since 2006:

American Bittern

American Coot

American Crow

American Goldfinch

American Kestrel

American Redstart

American Robin

American White Pelican

American Woodcock


Bald Eagle

Baltimore Oriole

Bank Swallow

Barn Owl

Barn Swallow

Barred Owl

Belted Kingfisher

Black Vulture

Black-and-white Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-headed Vireo

Blue Jay

Blue-winged Teal


Brown-headed Cowbird

Brown-headed Nuthatch

Brown Pelican

Brown Thrasher

Canada Goose


Cape May Warbler

Carolina Chickadee

Carolina Wren

Cedar Waxwing

Cerulean Warbler

Chimney Swift

Chipping Sparrow


Cliff Swallow

Common Grackle

Common Loon

Common Yellowthroat

Cooper's Hawk

Dark-eyed Junco

Double-crested Cormorant

Downy Woodpecker

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Meadowlark

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Screech Owl

Eastern Towhee

Eastern Wood Peewee

Eurasian Collared-Dove

European Starling

Field Sparrow

Fish Crow

Golden Eagle

Golden-winged Warbler

Grasshopper Sparrow

Gray Catbird

Great Blue Heron

Great-crested Flycatcher

Great Egret

Green Heron

Great Horned Owl

Green-winged Teal

Hairy Woodpecker

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Warbler

House Finch

House Sparrow

Indigo Bunting

Kentucky Warbler


Laughing Gull

Least Flycatcher

Little Blue Heron

Loggerhead Shrike

Louisiana Waterthrush


Mourning Dove

Muscovy Duck

Northern Bobwhite

Northern Cardinal

Northern Flicker

Northern Harrier

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Parula

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Northern Shoveler

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Orchard Oriole



Palm Warbler

Peregrine Falcon

Pied-billed Grebe

Pileated Woodpecker

Pine Warbler

Prairie Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Purple Finch

Purple Martin

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-winged Blackbird

Ring-billed Gull

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Rock Pigeon

Salmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Scarlet Tanager

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Spotted Sandpiper

Summer Tanager

Swan Goose

Tennessee Warbler

Tree Swallow

Tufted Titmouse

Turkey Vulture

Wild Turkey

Wilson's Snipe

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-eyed Vireo

White-throated Sparrow


Wood Duck

Wood Thrush

Worm-eating Warbler

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Yellow-breasted Chat

Yellow-crowned Night-heron

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yellow Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

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