Yesterday my friends introduced me to the practice of bird sitting.
No, it's not like baby sitting. Basically, a group of people get together to watch birds, but they do so in a methodical and controlled way. The people select a location, like a meadow or a pond, where birds are likely to congregate. Each person sits in a different spot and quietly makes note of all bird activity. A timekeeper makes a crow-call at about every ten minutes to assist the others make a more accurate observation of the birds.
My fellow bird-sitters sat with note pads and binoculars, but I sat with my camera. For my part, I noticed a number of species, but mostly the Steller's jay.
Afterwards, everyone convened in the house and made a large map of the area. Each person placed himself or herself on the map and then recorded everything they observed. We identified each species of bird with a different code. We also used different colored markers to indicate when each bird appeared on the scene.
This practice helps people to become more aware of bird behavior and the natural environment. I had never done something like this, but I'm interested to learn more.