Robins, cedar waxwings, goldfinches, hawks, flickers, quail. The list goes on and on for backyard bird watching.
Just because its winter doesnt mean the birds have flown south and youre not going to see anything. Southwest Idaho gets a lot of wintering birds.
Ive got a heated birdbath, a thistle-seed feeder for finches and a regular feeder filled with black oil sunflower seeds, and my yard looks like bird central.
Its not a time to hibernate in your house but to get out and learn about birds and wildlife.
If youre not familiar with backyard birds, theres a free drop-in program Jan. 12 at the Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center in the Boise Foothills. Just head up Eighth Street and keep on going until you see the center on the right.
Theyll have experts to offer tips on where to put your bird feeders and what foods the birds love best. There will be a slide show, too.
Kids and adults will have a chance to make a bird feeder and do some fun bird crafts. Its open to all ages, and no registration is required.
While you are at the Foothills Learning Center, stop by the 1/4-mile Story Trail featuring Big Tracks, Little Tracks, a childrens book by Millicent E. Selam.
Each month a different story is posted on 10 toddler-sized reading platforms. The self-guided trail begins in the northwest corner of the parking lot along the split-rail fence.
Weve had our granddaughter out for the Story Trail and its fun.
If you set up a bird feeder and birdbath in your yard, youll have an opportunity to get some good wildlife shots.
You can learn valuable tips during a free lecture at the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge at 7 p.m. Jan. 8.
Mike Shipman, owner of Blue Planet Photography and a former wildlife biologist and refuge volunteer, will share some tips to improve both landscape and nature photos.
He will also offer equipment suggestions and profile some local and regional areas that make cool photo excursions.
This presentation is part of the Wild About Life monthly lecture series presented by Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge. The entrance to the refuge visitor center is at the intersection of Roosevelt and Indiana in Nampa.
Check out the refuge website at fws.gov/deerflat.
Adults interested in learning more about Idahos natural world and who are looking to volunteer their time can take part in the Master Naturalist Program.
The program, sponsored by the Idaho Botanical Garden, MK Nature Center and Foothills Learning Center, educates adults interested in learning about nature and volunteering their time to teach others about nature and how to perform conservation work.
A new course for certification in the Idaho Master Naturalist Program will begin Jan. 15 and run through mid-April.
Classes are most Tuesday mornings, 9 a.m. to noon.
Meeting locations include the MK Nature Center, the Idaho Botanical Garden and the Foothills Learning Center. There will be occasional Saturday field trips.
To be certified through the program, participants need to complete 40 hours of education classes, field trips, lectures and activities. In addition, participants volunteer 40 hours of conservation work for a variety of organizations.
The program costs $150, and upon certification the participant is refunded $75.
For more information and to register, call Sara Focht at 287-2906.
MY COLUMN MOVES
From here on out my columns will appear in our Thursday Idaho Outdoors section, which is returning Jan. 10. Were calling it one-stop shopping for outdoors news and features.
We will also be moving our popular Photo Challenge to Thursdays starting Jan. 10. The last Photo Challenge in Life will be Jan. 6.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors