Tips & Tricks of a Phenologist
Keeping track of natural events isn’t difficult. A few simple tools of the trade (See “Tools of the Trade” ) and everyday activities will get you started in this absorbing hobby.
- Take nature walks.
- Make observations right in your own back yard. If you don’t have to plan trips to distant locations, you’re more likely not to miss backyard events.
- Bird feeders or bird baths encourage migrating birds to stop at your yard.
- Perennial plants are best for phenological observations because they remain in place for many seasons.
- Watch the same individual plant every year at the same site.
- Keep accurate and frequent records in a nature notebook. Or carry a blank calendar with space for each date so you can make short notes when you see something interesting.
- Use your senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. Listen for sounds of birds, frogs and toads.
- Pay attention to the lengthening or shortening of daylight hours.
- Use a compact tape recorder to make observations.
- Start with something simple such as which wildflowers are blooming and which birds you see. Keep your eye on it every day.
- Spend time getting to know the common species of your area.
- Call a local conservation organization to find out about resources: nature walks, bird counts and other activities.
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