Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Natures Notes: Great Backyard Bird Count

I should say upfront that I bombed out on the Great American Backyard Bird Count although I'm glad I tried to participate. At the end of this post I identify the birds in this post and have links to information about them.
The host of Nature Notes posted about the GBBC and I was all set to give it a whirl.
All you have to do is observe the birds in your backyard for fifteen minutes for one or all of the days (this year it was February 12 through 15).
You tally the highest number of birds from any species that you site together.
All of the birds in this post were photographed during the three days of the bird count. The snowy shots were all on Saturday and most of the no snow shots were taken on Friday.
There are a number of issues which interfered with my bird count.
The first problem I had was the way the small birds flit in and out so fast it's hard to know how many of any given group there are at any given time.
Another issue I had was that I found myself totally incapable of simply observing and recording the numbers of birds for 15 minutes without photographing them.
The problem with photographing the birds while counting is that so many of the birds are flitting in and out that if I focus long enough to photograph an individual, I miss a lot of the other birds.
The odd part about my obsessive photographing is that I have been a bird watcher a lot longer than I've been interested in continual photography.
The positive part in my attempting to participate in the bird count is that I managed to identify a lot of the birds in my yard.
I counted 45 species that call my garden home pretty much year round.
To get ready for the bird count I made a list from my handy Peterson Field Guide of birds that I see year round as well as ones I mostly see in the warmer months.
I also noticed behavior, such as, mourning doves are perfectly happy to all hang out together in groups of 6 or more but male cardinals don't tend to eat side by side.
More than one female cardinal will sometimes hang out in the same area, at the same time, or that was my observation.
I also noticed that some of the small birds like finches, sparrows, juncos, are fine about all being together but the chicakdees, nuthatches and wrens tend to flit in and out pretty fast (in general the latter 3 types of small birds are very hyper compared to the first three types of small birds).
Following I'll identify the birds in this post and if you click on their name it takes you to the Cornell site with information about them. If there are more than one shot of a species the link goes to the same place. The first photo is an eastern bluebird. The second photo is a red-bellied woodpecker. The third photo is a carolina chickadee. The fourth photo is a junco. The prominent bird in the fifth photo is an American robin and if you look closely there are some mourning doves up there too.The sixth bird is a white-breasted nuthatch. I'm not sure about the seventh bird but I think it's a house finch. The eighth shot has a tufted titmouse and a junco under it. The ninth photo is of a blue jay. The tenth photo is of a house sparrow. The eleventh photo is of a carolina wren. The twelfth photo is of a male cardinal and the thirteenth is a female cardinal. The fourteenth photo is a mourning dove. The fifteenth photo has left to right male house finch, female house finch, sparrow, and junco. The sixteenth photo (above) is a female house finch. The last photo below is a male house finch.
I'm posting early but the post day for the home of Nature notes is Thursday.


mommanator said...

Hey you did a great job. I should try this, but I dont think I have that much variety in my yard

Leora said...

You win big time in my book! The birders I know locally seem to be able to identify the birds without photographing them.

Love all your photos. Thanks for all the IDs.

Squirrel said...

Wonderful observations and captures!

Unknown said...

Looks to me like you saw quite a variety, Carver. Nice photos!

I haven't had many birds in my yard this winter for some unknown reason. They are just beginning to appear now, perhaps because our winter in Ontario has been fairly snow-free and they've found enough food in the wild.

Unknown said...

I think I mentioned before that you get an awesome variety of birds there, no?

Changing Perceptions said...

Its amazing the number of birds you did manage to capture. Unfortunately where I stay, A rather urban-semi urban setting, the only birds i do get to see are the crows which flock to my house in large numbers. Hmmm... I wonder ehy!

DeniseinVA said...

It is so much fun to spot birds in the garden. You took some great shots.

happily retired gal said...

WOW ... impressive post! I love all your fabulous photos and apprecicate the links to help me learn to recognize unfamiliar birds.
Hugs and blessings,

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

You always have such great shots of our fair feathered friends. Great job!

God bless and have a glorious day!!!

Dee said...

Wow, Carver, 45 species of birds! That's really cool!

eileeninmd said...

You saw a wonderful variety of birds for your count. Nice photos.

Caron said...

I'm impressed with what you've done. That's a heck of an assortment and the birds are so pretty.

KaHolly said...

This was a most entertaining post! And I appreciated the follow-up list with references. I can so relate to that urge to take pictures instead of study the bird!! I have to tell myself to put the camera down and pick up the binoculars, esp. if it a bird I am not familiar with. Great post! ~karen

Cezar and Léia said...

Dear Carver,
This post is sooo wonderful and informative!You did lots of work to do this great post, thanks so much for sharing all information and beautiful pictures!

Anonymous said...

wow! wonderful captures.
Love your header too!

MyMaracas said...

Right now, all I ever see are crows. And not many of those. I did hear a barred owl today, though. I envy you all your pretty little birds!

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

The branches make such a beautfiul design.

Great photo of the bird.

Rambling Woods said...

I didn't spend as much time as I usually do counting so I ended up with low counts. I hear what you're saying about them flitting in and out. Also here we have winter flocks of mixed birds that all come in together and it is crazy. I think you did a great job with the IDs. I can't quite see the one bird you weren't sure about...Michelle

Gel said...

Delightful treat. (I don't think you bombed out.) I wasn't blogging to even know about this, so thanks for a front row seat to many birds that do show up in our backyard. I don't know if I've seen a junco or eastern bluebird and I'm not up on knowing the finer points of male/female birds, unless it's wellknown like cardinals and robins. This birdlover, gives you an A for this terrific post.

Gel said...

Oh, and although I have seen the birdies, I have not captured them on film. Please tell me you do not work full time, because to photo these even if not working, is very difficult!