Thursday, February 19, 2009

Great Backyard Bird Count 2009 - day 4 report

Okay, Monday (2/16) was the last day of the Great Backyard Bird Count. It was a quiet birding day for me, as I chose to use the last day of the count to watch just my yard. It was kind of nice to count my yard outside of Project Feederwatch time (I always count on Saturdays and Sundays for that). You're not allowed to count flyovers or birds that you hear but don't see for PFW, so I enjoyed being able to add a few extra species to the list.

I only had about 15 minutes to count before I left for work in the morning, and I was certainly able to get SOME birds in that short amount of time, but quite a few of the birds on my list got added while I was at work.... watching the live feedercam from my desk! Cheating, you say? No way! I only counted birds that I could absolutely identify. For example, the birds that come to the peanut feeder are very easy to make out on the cam, so Tufted Titmouse and Blue Jay were no-brainers. I also got a Chickadee hanging on one of the pinecone feeders, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, who hopped from the suet cage to the corn cob (they're the only bird I ever see eating the corn, which is supposed to be there for the squirrels... but of course they prefer the bird seed!) I also got a Downy Woodpecker on a suet cage (I know how they compare in size to a Hairy, and the size of both in relation to the suet cages).

Red-bellied Woodpecker on the corn cob

Snag that peanut!

Dang, such a handsome bird!

Blue Jay plans his attack

After I got home from work I spent some time out on the deck watching our reliable little Song Sparrows feeding on the ground under the deck. Boy, they sure are starting to sing their spring songs! (Say THAT 3 times fast!)

Here's the final tally...

Count for yard (day 4):
Northern Cardinal (7)
American Goldfinch (2)
Mourning Dove (5)
White-breasted Nuthatch (2)
Chickadee (5)
Blue Jay (1)
Tufted Titmouse (2)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (1)
Downy Woodpecker (1)
Red-Tailed Hawk - flyover (1)
Brown Creeper - heard only (1)
Song Sparrow (5)
White-throated Sparrow (1)
Pine Siskin - heard only (1)
Pileated Woodpecker - heard only (1)

Now I need to go submit all my data on the GBBC site! I had lots of fun, I hope you all did too!

See you at next year's Great Backyard Bird Count!


Kelly said...

...cute little nuthatch, and I like the color on your red-bellied too!

Kathiesbirds said...

Heather, it looks like you did great! I know the downy/hairy thing can be tricky but there are 2 little tricks I learned when I lived in Maine and had both species coming to my feeders. For one, the Hairy's bill is about the same length as its head. The downy's is about half the length of its head, but one of the best tricks is to look for the black spots on the vertical white tail feather's of the Downy. The Hairy woodpecker has clean white tail feathers. Check out a Kaufman's field guide to see for yourself or just wiat until the next woodpecker comes to your feeders!

James said...

Love the shot of the red-bellied. His nape shows up well.

Monika said...

Heather, thanks so much for stopping by my blog and commenting! Because of that I was able to check out your blog as well. I'm much like you, trying to combine my interesting of birding, photography, and being a naturalist through my blog. I'll definitely be keeping tabs on your updates from now on!

I love the shot of the blue jay, a beautiful species we don't get this far west!

KaHolly said...

A live feeder cam? Your supposed to be working, not birdwatching!!! Clever move!

Heather said...

Kelly: Yes, each of the birds has their own special quality. That's why I love them so.

Kathie: Thanks for sharing your Downy/Hairy ID tricks. I'm usually pretty good at picking them out based on size, but field marks are very helpful too!

James: Thanks, I like that shot too.

Monika: Thank you so much for stopping by! It's always nice to be able to show off birds that seem so common to me, but which others don't have where they live.

KaHolly: I'm a pretty good multi-tasker, so keeping one eye on the birds and the other eye on my work wasn't hard. Now, just don't tell my boss!