Less than four weeks ago, I felt pretty good about my prospects for taking the Bird-a-Day Challenge in 2011. It seemed like great motivation to get out into the field more often and a fun way to spice up the birding routine. I even started out pretty strong… but then on Monday, January 3rd, a new, unexpected challenge suddenly loomed. All dreams of a little big year were completely dashed. Things got desperate pretty quickly after that, with back yard birds hitting the list in the first week. By mid-month I was relying on them more often than not. My list of go-to birds shrunk alarmingly fast, and some regular feeder visitors failed me in the end. Yesterday I pinned all my hopes on a sometime visitor, the Northern Cardinal, but the crimson beauty let me down. Naturally, a pair spent the entire evening in the yard today, casually dining on mixed seeds at the platform feeder for well over a half hour. Thanks, guys! The photo below was taken on the 23rd at the Starved Rock State Park feeders. Am I being paranoid, or is he mocking me?
Even though I didn’t make it out of January, I’m pleased to have made it past January 20th. That’s as far as my dad thought I’d get!
If this new “challenge” works out, I’ll be working on a new yard list later this year. That should make up for the premature end to the Bird-a-Day Challenge. Plus I have an easy target to beat for next year’s Bird-a-Day.