White-crowned sparrow (Courtesy)

I was in Atlanta last week attending the AmericasMart trade show. I am excited about some of the new products we ordered that will be coming into the stores over the next several months.

Every time I travel, regardless of where I go, I always take my binoculars with me in hopes of squeezing in a small amount of time to do some bird watching—and this trip was no exception.

Early one morning, before the trade show opened, I walked from my hotel to Piedmont Park—a little more than two miles one-way. I spent the next two hours in sheer bliss. I had such a good time and didn’t want to leave, but I had work to do. By the time I got back to the trade show, my fitness app showed I had walked eight miles.

One thing I was grateful for this year was good weather. I do not like to be cold at all, and more than once when I have been in Atlanta, I’ve had to contend with snow, ice, and single-digit temperatures.

The first time I birded Piedmont Park was clear back in 1995. Several years ago, I put into eBird a list of the different bird species I saw on my first visit to the park. It is interesting to look in eBird at my birding records for the state of Georgia and see what birds I have observed there over a period of time covering more than twenty years.

There were many highlights last week, but here are a few that stand out—red -shouldered hawk, yellow-bellied sapsucker, brown creeper, brown-headed nuthatch, golden-crowned kinglet, eastern phoebe, eastern bluebird, brown thrasher, eastern towhee and rusty blackbird. I saw a total of forty species and felt really good about the success I had in finding such a good variety of birds in January.

Now back to Arizona birding. We have received a lot of rain and snow over the last three weeks, which presents a challenge to those who feed wild birds. It has been hard to keep the seed dry. This time of year, I adjust how I feed the birds in two small ways. First, I don’t fill my feeders to the top. Instead, each day I only put a one-day supply of seed into the feeders in order to reduce the likelihood of the seed getting wet.

Secondly, I do more ground feeding. Each day I broadcast seed directly down onto the ground to mimic where birds find seeds in a natural setting. The number of ground-feeding varieties of birds really swells in the Prescott area during winter. While we have Gambel’s quail, mourning dove and spotted towhees year-round, in winter we have a lot of dark-eyed juncos and white-crowned sparrows that actually prefer to feed down on the ground.

I invite you to attend the free monthly membership meeting of the Prescott Audubon society on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m., at Trinity Presbyterian Church. Prescott resident Steve Morgan will be performing a Chautauqua, playing the part of Aldo Leopold. Put it on your calendar, as it should be a very enjoyable presentation.

Next week I am off to another trade show—this time in Las Vegas. I was invited by Swarovski Optik to attend their 70th anniversary celebration. I feel honored to be invited, and feel it is a reflection of the relationship Jay’s Bird Barn has with Swarovski Optik.

As I attend birding and nature festivals, the one brand of optics serious birders carry—more than any other brand—is Swarovski. While in Nevada, I plan to do some bird watching, as well. Stay tuned!

Until next week, Happy Birding!

Eric Moore is the owner of Jay’s Bird Barn, with two locations in northern Arizona – Prescott and Flagstaff. Eric has been an avid birder for over 50 years. If you have questions about wild birds that you would like discussed in future articles, email him at eric@jaysbirdbarn.com.