Great Backyard Bird Count this weekend!

jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)February 14, 2008

It's that time! And a good excuse to watch the birds :^)

We've had such a mild winter that the birding has been less than stellar --- or maybe it's because I've not had as much time to watch this year. But I will this weekend and really looking forward to it!

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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

I'm glad I didn't get involved what with the bitter cold we have. I did enjoy it up in Wisconsin but I don't remember it being this early. Sandy

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 3:31AM
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My only concern is being able to sit still for a minimum of 15 minutes while trying to bird watch. LOL "Hey, that plant needs pruning! Oh, are those buds? Awww, pretty bloom!" :D

I haven't heard the robins chirping yet, even with the spring-like weather we've been having. The wind may have something to do with it. It's supposed to die down this weekend, though, so I think I'll give the bird count a shot...maybe strap myself to a chair or something. :D

Happy counting, everyone!


Here is a link that might be useful: The website

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 8:01AM
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Thanks for the reminder. I'll do my early morning watch from bed!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 2:41PM
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sheepco(MN z4)

Thanks for the info, I'm going to try to do it!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 10:03PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Hmmmmm. I never did that but will today. Thanks for the reminder, Jean!

Hope everyone posts their counts here too ... please. :-)

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 8:14AM
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Here's my count from yesterday, within a 4-hour period, all seen from my front window. :D

Eurasian Collared-Dove - 2 [first time seeing the couple together!]
Anna's Hummingbird - 1
Nuttall's Woodpecker - 1
Western Scrub-Jay - 1
Yellow-billed Magpie - 2
American Crow - 4
European Starling - 2
Orange-crowned Warbler - 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's) - 1
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1 [first sighting & positive ID for me!]
White-crowned Sparrow - 2 [YAY, punk rockers are back!!]
House Finch - 20
American Goldfinch - 12
House Sparrow - 10

I was so surprised to see the lack of reports from California last year when the checking the website! With so many outdoor enthusiasts, you'd think bird watching would be much more popular.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 9:02AM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Nice list Brandy! Ooooo ... You gots a Hummer!

These are the folks we saw from home and counted right after filling the feeders and scattering food on the patio within 15 minutes.(Maybe that's cheating to fill up the feeders but this is probably a reflection of our birdy visitors daily?)

White-crowned Sparrows ... 6
House Sparrows ... 115
Dark-eyed Junco ... 17
Downy WP ... 7
Red-headed WP ... 3
Pileated WP ... 4
Common Flicker WP ... 1
Starling ... 120
White-breasted Nuthatch ... 5
Red-breasted Nuthatch ... 3
Brown Creeper ... 3
Black-capped C3D ... 15
Cardinal ... 11 (including OUR Mr. Cardinal)
Blue Jay ... 5
Mourning Dove ... 25
Carolina Wren ... 4
Red Finch ... 17
House Finch ... 9
Robin ... 5 (Saw a flock of 32 yesterday about 1 mile from Camp Nappy.)
Cooper's Hawk ... 1 (That guy pretty much ended the count! LOL!)
Ring-billed Gull ... 31 (flying over the Lake)
Blue Heron ... 5 (flying over the Lake)
Some-kinda Duck ... 6 (flying over the Lake)
Canada Goosi ... 12 (flying over the Lake)

Gray Squirrels ... 8! (Little savages! LOL!)

That's the Camp Nappy Recreation and Entertainment Center Birdy Bed and Breakfast Report. :-)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 9:29AM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

Here's my list for this weekend showing the high total out of each day. A rather bland birding weekend, it's been in the fifties each day and the ice from earlier this week is gone. I took a little walk around the yard to find a few of the birds (towhee, carolina wren, and brown creeper) and I discovered my daffodils are just coming up!

Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Mourning Dove 22
Red-bellied Woodpecker 4
Downy Woodpecker 4
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 13
American Crow 2
Carolina Chickadee 8
Tufted Titmouse 4
White-breasted Nuthatch 3
Brown Creeper 1
Carolina Wren 1
American Robin 6
European Starling 11
Eastern Towhee 1
American Tree Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 6
White-crowned Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 10
Brown-headed Cowbird 3
Northern Cardinal 21
Purple Finch 1
House Finch 4
American Goldfinch 9
Fox Sparrow 3

No big surprises for me this weekend :^(

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 11:02AM
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My list:

Mourning Dove 8
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Downy Woodpecker 4
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Northern Flicker 1
Blue Jay 5
American Crow 4
Black Vulture 5
Carolina Chickadee 2
Tufted Titmouse 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 1
Mockingbird 1
American Robin 26
Song Sparrow 9
White-throated Sparrow 8
White-crowned Sparrow 5
Dark-eyed Junco 6
Northern Cardinal 6
House Finch 13
American Goldfinch 16
Canada Goose 11
Squirrels - the resident 8 (seed pigs)

LARGE FLOCKS (mixed): 100's of birds (most were Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds) with a few European Starlings and Brown-headed cowbirds in the mix.

I have to keep going out there and clapping my hands really loud to chase them away. I can tell when they come in as they make a racket. When I open the door they take flight to the treetops, but with continued loud clapping they fly out of sight (until they come back later in the day). Huge mixed flocks like this are common in February here and they eat one out of house and home! Grrrr....

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 4:19PM
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After chasing away the big flocks of birds I looked out back to see what birds may show up and there was a Sharp-shinned Hawk eating a bird. I ran upstairs with the bins and it was eating a Robin. First it ate the head and then threw the beak aside. Then started plucking out the breast feathers.

Meanwhile I ran downstairs to get my camera. I took a picture of it through the glass and screen and the flash went off so the picture is bad. So, I opened the window and the hawk paused, looking around and up. I shifted my position in the window to take another picture after adjusting my camera to stop the flash, etc. and it picked up the remainder of the Robin and flew into my woods behind some trees.

I went outside to see if I could get a photo and it was still back there on the ground in the trees eating, but there was no other photo opportunity. A squirrel came down a tree into the area where the hawk was eating, and when it saw the hawk, it jumped straight up like a crazy squirrel and then ran off quickly.

I'd post the photos but the one of the bird is a bad photo (you can see the bird but grainy) and the other photos of various Robin parts and feathers is too gruesome.

So, add one Sharp-shinned to my list. It was an adult. It had some white feather tips on wings, but had the small head, flat tail (not rounded), buff and cream checkered feathers on the breast and legs. It was eating as fast as it could keeping an eye out for food stealers and other dangers to it. I wish it had caught some of those starlings instead of a Robin. I'm rather fond of the Robins that hang out in my yard. I had just thrown out pieces of pear, grapes and an overripe banana, so that is probably what it was eating when the hawk swooped on it. It was a male Robin.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 11:00PM
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Wow!!! You folks really get a nice variety of birds back east! Sorry for the Robin, CT, but happy you were able to check out the hawk in action. They are so fascinating!

One day a couple weeks ago, I let Pookie out for a visit to the creek, and the yard looked empty. I always check for stray cats who might try to beat up on my kitty, or for birds that my chunk-style girl might sneak up on. :D

As Pook continued to walk on the path, a bird, which had been standing stock still, flew off...and another and another. Uh-oh. I heard some thrashing going on toward the neighbor's house, and I saw something moving on the pile of branches (downed in the last wind storm) just inside their yard.

At first, I thought it was a chicken, but I soon got a good look at the Cooper's hawk...maybe only 30 feet away or less. His movements were so spooky as he hopped and side-stepped around in that pile of branches. He was obviously on a very determined mission. *goosebumps*

He finally flew off a minute or 2 later, but not before I saw some little sparrows or finches hunkering down under some of my big geraniums along the driveway, almost like they were trying to bury themselves in the leaf debris so as not to be the Cooper's next meal. Very exciting day! :D


    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 8:16AM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

"Canada Goosi ... 12 (flying over the Lake)"

We saw you too CD3, thanks for waving!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 12:32PM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

Horton, I'm sending some up your way - saw three large formations heading north today. A sure sign of spring is coming!

I have to say I have only seen one capture by a hawk - but I know they must nab more than that or they wouldn't hang around the feeders like they do. The sharp-shin hung around for a good half-hour on Sunday, perched high in the trees. The feeder birds slowly came back, even the ground feeders which surprised me. He has his back turned to the feeder but I knew that was just a ploy! He did eventually take a dive after the ground birds but missed by a mile so he finally flew off.

So today I am driving home, left work early sick. I've got chills, aches, sore throat - you know the stuff. I drive by a kestrel sitting on a sign just a mile from the house - very unusual to see them so low to the ground, they usually hang out on the utility lines. So I rush home, grab my camera and head back thinking they was no way he would still be there. But he was! I couldn't get very close and I didn't get a chance to pull over so I could turn off the car so it was a drive-by shooting - a little blurry but it made me feel a little better to see this beautiful falcon up close :^)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 8:58PM
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Very beautiful Jean and in the snow too. Funny little feet though for a falcon.

American Kestrel is the name I picked for the new Presidential Helo (if it ever goes to production). Me and another person picked the name in a contest, but they have not released it yet. They always have common names for aircraft.

Hope you feel better soon! The flu is widespread right now in most states. Yuk.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 9:43PM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Thanks Jean, that's all we need! lol
We have them in our area all year long, I guess they must like it in this area, or your Homeland Security is holding back suspect geese?
In the last month there have been literally hundreds of Canada Geese, in many small flights, passing over here heading north.
We even hear them going over in the middle of the night. Why they would want to be up there, during darkness, in the dead of winter I don't know.

Of course we should not confuse these common honking wanderers, with our highly esteemed group.
We only pick the best for the RCG.
Mogali, Adj, RCG.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 7:58AM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

....Why they would want to be up there, during darkness, in the dead of winter....

Mogali, Adj, RCG., Sir:

May I respectfully speculate that these brave geese are likely in an undercover training camp in hopes that one day they will be thought worthy of consideration into the RCG?

Our Homeland Security has indeed stopped a large number of Canada Geese. These are obviously the slackers of their species ... spending their days on the golf courses!

Respectfully respective,


    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 8:10AM
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Jean, that Kestrel is gorgeous!! Thanks so much for going the distance in getting that picture. :D I sure hope you're feeling better soon, too!

We had a couple AK's nesting in the cottonwood tree behind our house last year. I haven't seen them in a while, so I hope they're ok.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 9:00AM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Ohhhh! Jean that bird is absolutely georgeous. We don't see those around here except a single pair the city is encourageing downtown. They have had a few survivor babies but so far they are staying around the taller buildings downtown. Sleepless

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 6:40AM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

You aint seen nuthin' yet!
Check the link below and the included video on the right-hand side of the page.

They say the numbers are down 65% from thirty years ago!!!
This will of course please a number of people??!! lol

Here is a link that might be useful: Starlings swarming in Scotland.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 4:22PM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Here's another one that will blow you away!
Watch the trees!
Have your volume up!

Here is a link that might be useful: More starling Starlings

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 4:47PM
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Horton, I'm sitting here as the 2nd video downloads (blasted dial-up, anyway!), my mouth hanging open....

I am SO thankful that I don't have the swarms of starlings that some folks do. Two or 5 is plenty good for me. *gulp*

I think I heard Tippy screaming from inside that house...


    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 8:20AM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

Wow! I've seen them flock but not in those numbers! They gather in an empty lot next to where I work and we watch their aerial stunts, it's like they play follow the leader but the leader changes every few moments. What's interesting is that two of our most invasive alien species of birds (european starlings and house sparrows) are both considered endangered in Britain. Makes you wonder if they don't get to the point where the species has outgrown it's natural boundaries and begins to decline. I know I would gladly ship all my starlings over there!

We have another winter storm moving through tonight and the birds seemed to know as they were all very actively feeding at dusk. Typically the last birds that I see in the evening are cardinals and tonight when I looked out I counted 43! That was just at the back feeders so I'm sure that count is low. I tried to get a picture of as many as possible but the best I could do was 17. Taken through the window with flash so not my best but you get the idea ...

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 8:38PM
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That video looks like the flocks of mixed 'black' birds we get here. Sometimes the migration groups go on for 20 minutes or more in huge formations that seem endless. Trees without leaves look like they are full of black leaves there are so many birds perched on them. You hear the loud whoosh of all the wings taking flight at once. They strip the feeders in short order, that is why I guard it when I am here. They are simply costing me way to much money. Bird seed, like everything else has gotten quite expensive. Without them my feeders are daintily used by a multitude of onesie twosie threesie groups of other well-behaved birds (for the most part barring a noisy, small group of Jays).

I think Starlings have beautiful feathers but they are greedy, messy eaters with a sound I have learned to not like. Squabbling with each other in that tinny cackle - poking other birds and each other with their sharp beaks. I wish they would go away!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 10:41PM
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Jean, those birds are so beautiful!! I get excited just seeing the house finches every day (with their little splash of red). I would probably start hyperventilating if I saw all of those gorgeous cardinals in my yard! LOL Such a wonderful sight against the backdrop of snow. *sigh*


    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 9:29AM
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The starling is such a classic example of well-meaning people "enhancing" nature. The video is awesome and should be required viewing for ponders who post about introducing zebra mussels, bullfrogs, invasive plants, etc where they don't belong.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 12:14PM
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Oh Jean - I don't know how I missed your link to the Cardinals. Fantastic you get so many at one time. This year I have a larger group than in the past years but nothing like your numbers. They show up here and there throughout the day, but they are ALWAYS the last birds at the feeders at dusk, when all the rest have gone to bed.

We had ice last night and I'm coming down with something today (muscle aches, pains, headache, fever but no snuffling) Hmmmm...... I only feel OK if I take Cold and Flu meds and boy when it wears off - yucky.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 9:07PM
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sheepco(MN z4)

Been gone a few days and I can see I've missed alot. I'm jealous of all your incredible variety and #'s of birds, and YOUR DAFFODILS ARE UP??!!

No reason I should feel sorry for myself (sniff) got up to 12 degrees today for the first time in 4 weeks (sniff). Daffodils? Yeah right....they're still 6 weeks away. Though the American Cancer Society will be delivering my 3 bunches in a couple weeks. Spring? Nope, not here, not yet.....

Arrggghhh! I'm never gonna make it!

Sarah (brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)

(Sorry, back to the count)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 11:26PM
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