The warmer weather has the area coming alive with birds. You may have heard them chatting among themselves in the trees and bushes in your yard this past weekend. The Hawks and Vultures have been around all winter but the songbirds left for warmer places and are slowly returning to roost.

I found myself stopping to listen a lot this weekend. The real challenge was actually trying to spot them in the trees even though there still aren't any leaves. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation released information last week about bird watching which got me thinking why not make checking out your yard's birds part of your new daily at-home routine. Chances are the kids would love it.

There is actually a lot of information on local birds and how to spot them at I Bird NY part of the NYS DEC website. It turns out that there is a bird watching challenge that will get underway soon. The site also helps with how to get started bird watching, what to look for and where. Plus they have YouTube videos and offer a guide for beginners.

I say grab your binoculars and see what you can spot. It is a great way to pass the day.