For many years, a man from Steinbach has been learning about birds and keeping track of the different species he encounters.

And now, Harv Lane continues observing the flying creatures and making notes of what he sees.

Lane is rewarded when he spots an unusual bird, especially from the comfort of his home.

“In this weather, most of our bird watching is in our backyard. In December, we probably had 20 different species, perhaps even 22 or so. Most days we have about 12 to 15 species in our backyard.”

Recently, he spotted a Eurasian Tree Sparrow; a bird he had only seen once before.

“It looks like the typical sort of house sparrow except it has a chestnut coloured cap and it has a white cheek with a little black spot in the middle of it,” says Lane. “But it's very easily mistaken for all the sparrows and red polls that are sitting around in the yard all day long anyway.”

He has also observed three different kinds of woodpechers, a Northern Shrike, a Merlin, and sometimes a hawk will fly through.

Lane first became interested in birds when he was a school teacher in Kleefeld. That was when a colleague, Dennis Fast, introduced Lane to the hobby.

The two men happen to be neighbours now, sharing a backyard. And they both have worked at making their yard a bird-friendly place, with feeders and a pond.

Both Fast and Lane have organized a Christmas Bird Count for a few years and they would head out to places like Landmark and Otterburne, seeking places with feed mills and granaries because they attract various birds.

Lane says those days are great memories but doesn’t work for them to continue with it.

Even though there is no official bird count, Lane still likes heading out on New Year’s Day each year to look for birds and make notes of what he has all seen.

Lane says it’s a great way to start off his bird watching year.

Another fun event that Lane looks back on with fond memories is the annual Big Day he participated in during the spring.