"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The results are in.

Our first Great Backyard Bird Count was a success. We started off slowly on February 13th with a cold and cloudy day. Not too many visitors made an appearance. Luckily the following three days we had lots of visitors. In fact so many some times we had a hard time getting everyone counted. My oldest daughter had so much fun helping, she was out before 8 am yesterday with her camera and binoculars. She is very good at identifying birds. Here she is all ready to count.
I took as many pictures as I could. Unfortunately I had a hard time photographing any of our more uncommon birds since they were not always close enough to get a good picture of with my camera. Maybe next year I'll have a better camera and better photos. Some of these photos were taken by my helper.
I discovered that the Steller's Jays and chickadees have found the new seed feeder. I didn't see any birds on the peanut butter feeder, but I did see the squirrels eating all the bark butter off of the tree I had put it on. The Dark-eyed juncos were our most common visitors. They seem to be in and around our yard most of the day. The American Crows were mostly fly overs, although they like to sit in the high branches of our pine tree. We also see seagulls on a regular basis even though we don't live very close to water. They seem to be around the same times the crows are here. I think I counted 14 different types of birds over the 4 days, not bad at all.
So here are the results:

Day 1
American Crow 9
Black-capped Chickadee 5
Bushtit 1
Bewick's Wren 2
Dark-eyed Junco 14

Day 2
gull species 1
Steller's Jay 1
American Crow 23
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 4
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
American Robin 4
Dark-eyed Junco 17

Day 3
gull species 1
Anna's Hummingbird 1
Northern Flicker 1
Steller's Jay 5
American Crow 15
Black-capped Chickadee 14
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 6
Bushtit 1
Bewick's Wren 4
American Robin 7
European Starling 2
Dark-eyed Junco 24

Day 4
gull species 2
Steller's Jay 2
American Crow 4
Black-capped Chickadee 6
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 5
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
American Robin 5
European Starling 7
Townsend's Warbler 1
Dark-eyed Junco 24
We spent about 1 and a half to 2 hours total each day counting birds.
I think seeing the Townsend's Warbler was one of my favorites. It is a beautiful bird and it stayed in our yard for awhile on the suet feeder and resting in the shrubs.
For all the results you can look at the Great Backyard Bird Count. It is broken down into many categories and was fun to see how many bird species were counted in our city and state. We'll definitely participate again next year.

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  1. What fun! I know this was a lot of fun with your daughter. Maybe next year we will participate in the fun, I still have 3 daughters at home and they would love this!!

  2. It was fun trying to spy all the birds. You had much better variety. Your daughter is too cute with all that equipment.

  3. What a cool project and a good mother/daughter activity. Interesting that you've got sea gulls. We don't have them in my neighborhood but they sure like to flock around parts of the town. It seems they've come from far and wide. Enjoyed your post, as usual.

  4. I really admire you for being so organized as to get the count together-and what an all set to go little helper too!

  5. Good Job!!! And thanks for the detailed count! I'm so glad your daughter participated. I'm sure the whole family was involved in one way or another. :-)

  6. Sounds like you all had a great time and good success. Good for you!

  7. Darla - I think you should try next year. I was surprised at how into my daughter got.

    Melanthia - She was out there all day. Are you going to share your results? I think sometimes it's luck on when you're looking and who happens to be there then.

    Grace - Thanks! It is strange seeing seagulls, I used to think they came inland when the weather was getting worse, but yesterday it was sunny and we had them.

    Tina - It was fun getting ready and she helped me enter the counts every night. She's got the garden/nature gene for sure!

    Shady Gardener - Yes, even my little one was looking for birds. She thought the crows sounded like owls :)

    Mildred - We did enjoy it, and learned a lot :)

  8. Hi Catherine, way to go!!!! Getting the younger generation interested is the best thing about it. Good for her already being able to ID the birds too. She has great promise, but you already knew that. :-) What a score with the kinglet and warbler too. Hooray!

  9. Excellent project. I believe that a garden should be thought/installed in relation to the surroundings.

    A great way to find out if that is happening is doing what you just did. Congratulations!

  10. I did the count all 4 days too! I didn't see as many each day that I often do when I'm not trying to participate in a bird count--but it was fun just the same. I need to get that posted too. Looks like you and your daughter had great fun. She's a cutie;)

  11. Frances - She is more interested in birds and flowers than most adults I know. The warbler has been back several times today and I even caught him on camera!

    Antigonum Cajan - Thank you. It was fun and it's nice to see that even the birds like to visit us.

    Jan - I look forward to seeing your count since I know you will have different birds. Today we had lots more visitors, more than we had all weekend.

  12. Catherine,

    Great way to get the youngsters into nature! You had a few birds that would have been lifers for me, Bewick's Wren and Townson's Warbler. Our yard list here for birds stands at 108 species and no gulls or Bald Eagles yet. Have you started a yard list, bet the girls would like that.

  13. I just love that shot of your daughter with her camera and binoculaurs. Sounds like a fun family project. I see a robin there too, my favorite bird. tee hee

  14. It is so interesting to see what a difference the location makes for the species of birds that are around--enjoyed seeing your list! What fun it must have been to include your daughter in the counting too.

  15. Randy - That warbler was back again today and I got his picture! I'll post it in a few days. I've kind of started a list, but you're right it would be fun to have one going and see all the visitors we've had. 108 species is a lot. They must love your yard. Go visit Gardener's Roost to see Aerie-els 's eagles. Her blog is under my Pacific Northwest Garden blogroll on the right side.

    Robin- We had lots of Robins today too. They are one of my favorites too.

    Aerie-el - You did get a lot of interesting birds. I love the chickadees looking at each other!

  16. Nice work, and way to make it a family affair! I am contemplating the wisdom (or idiocy) of getting a sturdy, cheap digital camera for my 5 yr. old daughter. She is starting to want to take pictures and, like your older child, is also very observant. I think we might try to participate as a "team" next year, I'm sure she would see many that I miss. Good job!

  17. I would say you did good with the American Crow coming around a lot. Must be your environment or your feed. Nice post. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  18. Karen - My daughter's camera is not fancy at all, she is prone to losing things so we just found the most basic digital. Your daughter will probably notice a lot, I was surprised at how many mine saw that I completely overlooked.

    Abe Lincoln - Thanks! There are a lot of crows around here. They seem to like to hang out in the trees, and haven't been any problem for us.

  19. You counted quite a variety of birds Catherine! I was hoping you'd post about the results ~ it's so interesting what people see in different parts of the country. The hummingbird would rank at the top for me but probably because we only have them two months of the year. A warbler is always a good sighting! Next year, I am vowing to participate. I think it's so great your daughter is such a budding gardener/bird enthusiast. :-)

  20. I enjoyed seeing your list. You have quite a few birds that we don't get here (upstate NY). How lucky you are to have hummers (probably all year?). Our ruby throats will show up around the second week in May.
    It's so neat that your daughter has such an interest already. What fun to count together. That's a cute photo of her :)
    I did the count too (on Monday) but we were away visiting our kids for our grandson's 5th birthday party most of the weekend. I didn't see a single bird at their place. Couldn't believe it! Lots of hawks flying over the thruway though and I saw one sitting on the ground. Got a really good, clear look. Amazing! A redtail I think.
    I'll try to post my list.


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