Urban Birding

Let's play a round of free association. If I say "urban bird,"  you might say "pigeon," right? Makes sense. But city planters and parks attract a host of other avian species. If you're itching to know them better, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is there to help with its "Celebrate Urban Birds!" project.

The project's website offers a variety of ways city dwellers can learn about and enjoy birds living in their area. There's a starter kit, for example, that site users can download that will introduce them to 16 common urban birds. There's also a spot for inputting and viewing data about where birds have been spotted in various locales around the country.

And now, "Celebrate Urban Birds!"  invites metropolitan birders to draw attention to perhaps little-known, albeit terrific birding spots in their neighborhood by entering its "Little Green Spaces" contest. Participants should send photos, drawings, or links to videos depicting those locales by October 31st to urbanbirds@cornell.edu. (Yes, there are prizes involved.)

So, the next time you plan to hoof it to work or school and know you're going to pass that community garden or abandoned lot, don't forget your camera.

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