Bird’s Eye View

I began working at the farm in late June, just after a killdeer nested in the leeks and fledged two chicks. Great-crested flycatchers occupied the woods surrounding the far field. One of my favorite things about farming is being more in tune with changes in the seasons and the weather and how they affect the local ecosystem. Besides bringing people closer to their food, farming also helps connect farmers and volunteers to the land.

Tim washing harvested spinach

Listening to the birds at Gaining Ground has been an interesting way for me to become more aware of microclimates on and around the farm. A northern flicker lives in the dead tree near the cabbage at the front, and a house wren lives in the woods next to the winter tunnels. Familiarizing myself with the farm has become more than just knowing what crops are growing where, but also paying attention to what animals are around for different parts of the growing season.

Although I have come to associate Canada goose flyovers with the fall, I now think of sweet potato and winter squash harvest as well. Seeing how birds and crops respond to seasonal changes side by side has helped me learn much more about both. As the season comes to an end, I’m thankful for having been a part of it and learning more about how to grow food—and watch birds.