Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Great Backyard Bird Count

Today was the third day of the Great Backyard Bird Count, a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, and Bird Studies Canada. It was the first day that I was able to actively participate, and help my sister count. I spent a good deal of time looking out our dining room window. Directly in front of this window we have placed a peanut feeder and a suet feeder. They both are busy with customers, from dawn to dusk each day. I was pleased to catch a good picture of a female Northern Red-Shafted Flicker. Later on in the day, she returned with a male. Unfortunately, they are quite easily spooked and I wasn't able to get a picture taken before they left.

At one point I had a large group of Stellar's Jays at both feeders. As always, they were making a loud racket.

While not a welcome bird at our feeders, I did count this European Starling. I do have to admit they have a lovely pattern on their feathers. If only they weren't so destructive to our native birds.

Here was the "father in my cap" today - I spied a Varied Thrush at the suet feeder. Normally an insectivore in the summer months, we have had at least one Varied Thrush at our suet feeder the past few months.

A Song Sparrow that the Suet feeder.

Towhees are another frequent visitor to our peanut and suet feeders.

The Scrub Jays are another frequent visitor to the feeders. Normally a "city" bird in this area, we have seen an increase of them at our feeders over the past few years. They seem to be adjusting to country life just fine!

This little Black Capped Chickadee was cleaning up fallen seeds on the walkway.

Now, here is a first for our Backyard Bird Count - Evening Grosbeaks! In past years our Evening Grosbeaks have returned for the year sometime in April. This year, we spotted the first one on January 14th. Since that time, the flock has slowly grown and grown. We are a bit confused but thrilled to have them back and hear that familiar "churr" chorus each morning.

We know that we have at least 20 Evening Grosbeaks back so far this year. At his point, we are seeing predominantly males, with just a scattering of females.

While this isn't the best picture, it is proof that we had two Red-Tail Hawks circling overhead this afternoon. They were quite comfortable in each other's presence, so we were speculating that they might be a mating pair. While they circled overhead, all of the songbirds left the feeders and headed into the brush for cover and safety.

Here is one of today's total count:
  • (1) Scrub Jay
  • (4) Stellar's Jay
  • (10) Junco
  • (2) Chickadee
  • (2) Towhee
  • (3) Mourning Dove
  • (11) California Quail
  • (1) Anna's Hummingbird
  • (1) Northern Red-Shafted Flicker
  • (2) Song Sparrow
  • (12) Evening Grosbeak
  • (6) House Finch
  • (1) Robin
  • (1) Starling
  • (1) Varied Thrush
  • (2) Red Tailed Hawk

Solomon thanks you for stopping by the Great Backyard Bird Count. He will be assisting with count once he wakes up from his afternoon nap!

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