GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT

Last weekend (Friday through Monday) was the Audubon Society’s Great Backyard Bird Count.   This is yearly event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations.   Each checklist submitted during the GBBC helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them and the environment we share. Being a scientist/biologist at heart, I love contributing to this data collection.

The last few years I have not been able to participate because I have been in Florida for my granddaughter’s birthday.  Yes, I know, there are birds in Florida and I could count them there, but I don’t want to take time away from visiting with the family, since I don’t get to see them nearly as often as I would like.  The birthday party was early this year, so I was home for the count.

I was excited about spending time birding, which I haven’t done much of lately. Unfortunately, I had to work all day Friday, and by the time I got my to-do list done on Saturday, it had started to rain.  So, no birds to count.  Sunday afternoon was absolutely gorgeous, so I sat outside with Tippy, expecting to see all sorts of birds.  Nope.  I heard a few and saw some that were too far away to get a positive identification.  I got impatient after 40 minutes, at having only identified one bird, a red-bellied woodpecker.

Red-bellied_Woodpecker-27527

It was much easier when I had a bird feeder near the back porch.  I quit putting it up after I got Tippy.  I was afraid she would see the visitors to the feeder as a tempting smorgasbord of furry little morsels.  Now that she is older and spends a lot of time in the house, I may try putting it back out.

Anyway, I thought I might have better luck back in the neighbor’s field.  I got all of my supplies in a backpack and Tippy and I set off for a leisurely walk.

I did hear and see more birds, but could only identify a flock of robins and a turkey vulture.

At least Tippy and I had a wonderful, relaxed walk on a warm, sunny February Sunday.

On Monday, I was able to identify some mourning doves and cardinals.

My contributions are minor this year, but it is something.  I need to spend more time honing my skills away from a feeder.  It does make a difference when they have no reason to stick around.  Finding the identifying characteristics on the fly is a lot harder, to say the least.

Do any of you participate in this event?  If so, Tippy and I would love to hear how your weekend of birding went.

28 thoughts on “GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT

  1. The family diagonal to our house has a big patch of bamboo and every morning I hear tons of birds chirping in the stalks of bamboo. I have no idea what they are, but I love to hear them. We have a lot of cardinals, blue jays and Carolina wrens. Beyond that, I am clueless what is here. My son is the birdwatcher. He went out with Audubon Society a few times. They are a fascinating but very serious group. They do know their birds!

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    1. They are serious about the data collected too. One year I reported a bird that is rarely seen here, they say, so I had to send a picture and answer questions about it to verify the identification. They were satisfied that I was correct and that made me feel good about my identification abilities….even though I had questioned them when they questioned me.

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  2. Ok, so that’s why people were posting bird pics on FB last week. I’ve never heard of this. I saw a red cardinal for the first time in a while last week To see a woodpecker around here would be very special. I think I’ve only seen about three in my life.

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    1. You should. I think it is the second weekend in Feb every year. ebird.org/gbbc has some great resources for identifying birds too and you can submit checklists all year to your ebird account….at least you could the last time I tried. Like I said, it’s been a while.

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      1. I know what you mean. Some days, you just aren’t in the mood to tackle some new technological challenge. If you’re an eBird addict, you really do need to participate in the GBBC next year!

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  3. Birds around the district are generally Magpies and I know there are 6 of them here. I see them in the morning when I am out with Benji. We also have crested pigeons and once – years ago – I saw a wedge-tail eagle when I was north in the Flinders Ranges.

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    1. Just looked up the crested pigeon. They are a lot different from the ones we have around here. Magpies remind me of the crows we have. Eagles of all kinds are majestic, I think. Glad you have some birds in the area to enjoy.

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  4. I used to faithfully participate years ago in the count, but haven’t done it recently. I report unusual sightings and that’s about it. I once had 43 turkeys pass through my yard that even got an email back from them! I’m a member of Cornell Lab, so at least that is some support. 🙂

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    1. Did they think you were seeing double with the 43 turkeys? I have seen some large numbers together around here too. I once got an email back to verify an identification, since the bird was rare to be seen in the area, according to them. They were at my feeder all of the time. Fortunately, I had gotten a good picture I could send them and they verified I was correct. Until I got that verification email, I had started questioning myself, even though I knew what it was. LOL

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      1. The turkeys were easy because they were on a march through the yard – I just counted as they went by. I guess it is good they check out the big numbers or the unusual. I once saw a Woodthrush in the middle of winter and luckily got a photo of it to prove it.

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  5. Hi there Tippy’s Mom. I blew the GBBC this year, but went out for the Christmas Bird Count (CBC)!
    My daughter, her beau and I rode out an official Birding Area, and counted all the species we could find. I believe we totaled 26 species this year. I also signed up for Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project Feeder Watch, but I’m ashamed to say I was not as participative as I’d hoped to be. I’ll try again next year. I covered a little bit of the CBC in one of my blogs, Life In Engleville. (www.lifeinenglesmills.wordpress.com)
    Hope you have a chance to visit our site at http://www.chowdogzen.com

    Seek peace,

    Paz

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    1. The Christmas Bird Count outing sounds like fun and you saw a lot of different species! That’s fantastic. I will check out your post. Maybe we can both do a little bit better next year. 😉

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  6. I’ve never participated in this event and would love to snap pics of birds but they have to pretty close to my line of sight to catch them. Luckily there are tons of trees where I live but I seldom get to capture good quality images so seeing your photos is so nice. I keep hearing woodpeckers but sadly can never tell which direction they’re located🤣 Being directionally challenged and with poor hearing really adds another interesting dimension to sight loss so I’m so grateful to be able to enjoy other’s pictures of them.

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    1. Some of those pictures I found on the internet, as I wasn’t able to capture them on my camera phone. I can imagine that poor hearing would add an interesting “dimension” to your sight loss. Again, you are amazing. BTW, I hear fine, but I am never quite sure where sounds are coming from either. Tippy seems to be the same way sometimes. Someone on TV will knock at a door, or ring the doorbell (which we don’t have, so I don’t know how she knows what that is) and will run to the door barking, in the total opposite direction to the TV. LOL

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      1. Hahaha!! My dog does that too. That’s so funny. Mollie is such a little scatter brain it’s hard to rely on her because at times I think she has more anxiety than I do. We are such a good match. 🤣

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