Like so many, the majority of my birding since the Covid-19 pandemic began has centered on my own backyard and local walking excursions. But as we kicked off 2021, I found myself far from my current home in North Florida, surrounded by a plethora of Maine birds!
You’d think I could have begun my 2021 year list with something less familiar in Florida. A Red-breasted Nuthatch perhaps? A Hairy Woodpecker? Even a Black-capped Chickadee.
Alas, no. On the morning of January 1st, I woke up to Mourning Doves pecking beneath my parents’ bird feeder.
But still! I soon added Common Mergansers, Hooded Mergansers, Mallards, Hairy and Downy and Pileated and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, both White and Red-breasted Nuthatches, and American Crows. A beach trip or two brought Common Goldeneyes, Common Loons, Common Eiders, Great Cormorants, and Bufflehead. I literally fist-pumped the air when I spotted Long-tailed Ducks and a Surf Scoter.
By the time I left the state at the end of January to head back south, I had added 26 species to my 2021 list. Sure, I can see Blue Jays and Northern Cardinals and Canada Geese in my own backyard, year-round, but closing my eyes and picturing those species against a snowy backdrop makes me smile. At the very least, they form a delightful contrast to the White Ibis and Wood Storks I call my neighbors in the heat of Florida.
I am crossing my fingers that our country, and then the world, will soon open back up. Can I add more Maine species this summer? Here’s hoping!