Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Backyard Bird Count

On Sunday I decided to spend the whole morning in our yards, tallying bird species and numbers for the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). I didn’t participate in the GBBC for the past two years and so I thought I’d put extra effort into it this year.

Our feeders were busy with at least two Red-breasted and two Brown-headed Nuthatches.


Our loyal Ruby-crowned Kinglet turned up every 15 minutes or so and we had all three species of winter warblers: Orange-crowned (below), Yellow-rumped and Pine (below).


We had only a single Chipping Sparrow. 

A male and female House Finch appeared.

A Tufted Titmouse was a nice surprise, as we’ve rarely seen them in our yards these past few years.

I was very pleased to see a male Eastern Bluebird. A pair was checking our birdhouses last week and we’re hoping they will decide to nest. It seems unlikely, though, since our yard does not offer the kind of habitat that Bluebirds usually prefer.

I was hoping to see a Bald Eagle fly over but I had to settle for a Cooper’s Hawk and a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks (below) instead.

Cedar Waxwings didn't turn up in the morning but a group flew over just after we got home in the afternoon.

The biggest disappointment was the absence of Northern Cardinals. A pair normally visits every day but neither of them appeared on Sunday.

I easily beat my previous best 1-day backyard total (23 species) by recording 31 species this time.

Part of the reason for the higher total is that we currently have some winter visitors that we don’t usually get: Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown-headed Nuthatch and Pine Siskin. However, I think the main reason is that on Sunday I spent most of my time standing or sitting where I could see the sky as well as our feeders. As a result, I noted more flyovers than in earlier years.

Here is the full list, in the order that I spotted each species.
Carolina Wren 2
Great Blue Heron 4 (flyovers)
Northern Mockingbird 2
Blue Jay 3
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
White-winged Dove 11
Black-bellied Whistling Duck 3 (flyovers)
American Robin (flyover)
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
Double-crested Cormorant 3 (flyovers)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Orange-crowned Warbler 2
House Finch 2
Brown-headed Nuthatch 2
Carolina Chickadee 2
Pine Warbler
Cooper's Hawk (flyover)
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Rufous Hummingbird
House Sparrow 4
Chipping Sparrow
Eastern Bluebird
Turkey Vulture (flyover)
Downy Woodpecker 2
Tufted Titmouse
Black Vulture 3 (flyover)
American Goldfinch 4
Pine Siskin
Red-shouldered Hawk 2 (flyovers)
Cedar Waxwing 10 (flyovers)


Dorothy Borders said...

That's a good day's count and you got some excellent pictures.

Jeff said...

It was a very good morning's count for our little patch. It's an odd year, though, because we're getting more species but many fewer birds of most species. For example, we usually get 10-20 Chipping Sparrows in the winter but this year we have had only 1-2.