a portal on eBird, for the first time, rather than using paper checklists — includes who the birds are and what breeding behavior they’re up to, along with the usual when and where of any sighting.

23 behavior codes to choose from, to qualify each entry recorded.

For example: C, for courtship behavior. That’s how I marked my cardinals and that insistent mourning dove chasing his target. A week later, I checked P, for pair (as in, they’d paired up), when I saw two doves, side by side, preening — nuzzling and almost nibbling the feathers at each other’s head and neck.

There has also been a lot of S, for singing bird, going on. That includes the male Eastern Phoebe who arrived in the second half of March and soon began to emphatically, incessantly speak his own name. (The free app Merlin, and another from Audubon, can help with song identification.) More melodious early voices have included the cardinal (the female sings, too), bluebirds and the Carolina wren.

moth caterpillars, in particular, the preferred baby food. But now, as bits of garden “debris” fly by, being upcycled into nurseries, it is almost as if the practice is having an unintended bonus. (Here are some additional tips for making a bird-friendly garden.)

A Way to Garden, and a book of the same name.

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