Ten NAAS members received Yardie Awards this year. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all been stuck closer to home. Looking for birds in your own yard is a great time filler. Setting a goal to see a certain number of species keeps your interest up.
Flagstaff resident Terry Blows started the Yardie Award program. Almost 50 families have participated so far. It’s a perk of NAAS membership and embraces all that Audubon tries to encourage: birdwatching, providing habitat, protecting birds and animals, and citizen science. The Yardie Award is a tiered honor starting with 25 species. Any bird you see or hear while standing in your yard counts, whether it is flying overhead or at your neighbor’s yard.
You might think you don’t have a great yard for birds or you are not really a birder. Here are some examples of people who have earned a Yardie Award: Danae D. is 11 years old and lives on a little farm. Wild birds fly in for the spilled chicken seed and drink from the horse trough. Her list is 100 species. Tina Andres doesn’t put out seed, only a pan of water that brings in the thirsty birds. She has cut trails through her yard, providing edge for the birds, and her list is 50 species. Can’t walk far? Claire Wright, with her mobility issues, just sits on the porch and watches for birds. Her list is over 100 species. The Schudsons live in a zero lot-line townhome. They’ve set up a feeding station and have logged 50 species. Lydia D. hit 100 species and just moved. She’s working on a yard list from her new city house. Then there is Chris with a summer and a winter home who is making two lists for two Yardie Awards. Kathy made the Yardie Award a game with her granddaughter Emmory and tallied 25 species. Do you live in an apartment? The parking lot counts as your yard. While we are spending more time close to home, pick up your binoculars and write down your yard birds. They will accumulate quicker than you think.
The Yardie Awards are presented at our monthly meetings. During COVID-19, we are hand delivering the awards to your home.