My Kind of Bird Watching
Today we participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count, which is sponsored by the Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and Bird Studies Canada.
GBBC brings together tens of thousands of people from around the world to compile data that scientists use to evaluate the state of our feathered friends. This year it started on February 12 and will wrap up tomorrow, on the 15th.
Participation is very flexible, and you can devote as little as 15 minutes. Even better, we can do it from the comfort of our heated back porch.
Judy and I decided to start our bird counting once we saw a Cooper’s Hawk sitting on the back fence this morning. We wanted to impress the scientists at Bird Count HQ. Though most likely they were not nearly as excited as we were. We see a hawk in the back garden just once a month or so on average.
Or course, all the other birds stayed scarce until after the hawk had moved on for a while. One of the first to emerge was the Northern Cardinal. We’ve seen an unusually large number of Northern Cardinals this winter. They make echoes of Christmas color when they perch in front of a deep green Japanese Yew.
They like safflower seed, but this one needs to learn to chew with his beak shut.
There were quite a few American Goldfinches as well. I think I saw just the beginnings of their bright summer plumage coming back. They do enjoy the heated birdbath (aka the Bird Jacuzzi).
We saw many Downy Woodpeckers. Though I have a hard time distinguishing one Downy from another, and I can’t be sure that I’m not counting the same bird multiple times. I just do my best and assume that Bird Count HQ can make sense of it all.
On the other hand, the Harries and Red Bellies didn’t show even once while we were counting. Which is a shame, because they normally make a few appearances every day.
White Breasted Nuthatches are energetic and playful little critters.
I do sometimes wonder why they love peanuts so, since peanuts are legumes that grow under the ground.
I’m never positive when I try to tell a House Finch from a Purple Finch. I say House Finch above, what say you?
We saw a total of nine species during our 45 minutes of bird counting. In addition to the ones shown above, there were English Sparrows, Mourning Doves, and Juncos.
Are you taking part in the Backyard Bird Count this year? It’s not too late. For more information, check out this link.