I am lucky enough to have a garden. In the period that I – like most of the country – have been working from home, I made a habit out of staring into this garden. Despite its modest size and the small number of plants, I have noticed birds hanging out there. Because I liked the view, I started feeding them. And then even more came!
Since I am sitting here anyway, staring out of my window to postpone work, I decided to join the national backyard bird count (Nationale Tuinvogeltelling) this weekend. The yearly event is organized by the Dutch bird protection and joined by more schools and households each time. And it is not only for kids; everyone is welcome to join. Last year, more than 90.000 of these citizen scientists joined in counting the birds in their area. If you participate, all you have to do is sit at your window and count birds for half an hour. The results actually help the organization to get a picture of the demographics of these unregistered citizens, which is interesting to be part of. And it is fun to do as well!
The practice of counting birds might be the reminder we need that we are always embedded in nature. An important realization for everyone, especially (future) geographers and planners! The way we design cities, the way we build houses, ways in which we consume, our gardens and our pets unavoidably affect the world outside our window in some way or another. A garden full of bricks, tiling and cats is not going to attract a lot of birds. A garden full of plants will probably attract more. And granted, maybe we do not care about that. But if we count birds every year, we might start caring a little more. And then, hopefully in our decisions too, birds start counting.
Want to join the event on January 29, 30 or 31? You can register here.