Sunday, February 20, 2011

Five and Twenty Blackbirds...

Yeh, I almost forgot about the Great Backyard Bird Count that began yesterday. I've been doing this annual weekend count since I lived in California. Just 12 left hours to go! I suppose there's been a flurry of activity in Cornell Lab's Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity as the staff makes sure every technical detail is in place to begin accepting and displaying data from what they hope will be more than 100,000 checklists during the count. They're ready to start receiving everyone's backyard count! Tally birds for at least 15 minutes starting tomorrow and enter your checklist at Tell at least 10 friends or family members so we can make history with the most comprehensive count in our 14-year history! For me, here's this weekend's take:

    • 2 Great Blue Herons ( I rarely see two at one time! )
    • 46 Robins ( they always return each November and around this time return north! )
    • 7 House Finches ( love their song... it says,"Spring." )
    • 15 Brown Nuthatches ( our fearless staple that will feed from your hand if have the patience to invite them. )
    • 16 Carolina Chickadees ( our regular staple )
    • 7 Crows ( only see them at harvest time and winter, rarely after that! )
    • 10 Eastern Blue Jays ( Smart, but aggravating bird because they have many calls and one imitates a hawk perfectly which scatters all the smaller birds from the feeder. )
    • 15 Tufted Titmouse ( our regular staple )
    • 64 Goldfinch ( they always hit the feeder around November and unfortunately leave just as the males complete their mating colors. )
    • 23 Northern Cardinals ( We have about a dozen paired off and one female always sets up shop in our hydrangea plant. )
    • 5 Juncos ( Visitors every winter scratching away at the fallen leaves. )
    • 10 Bluebirds ( We already have three pair setting up shop in the houses and it is still February! )
    • 5 Mockingbirds ( our regular staple )
    • 8 English sparrows ( They kill bluebirds in the nest and take over the box. Not a native! )
    • 2 Pine Warblers
    • 7 Red Breasted Woodpeckers ( our regular staple )
    • 2 Eastern flycatchers ( They're many species, but you can tell a flycatcher because of the tail bobbing up and down. They're visitors each winter.)
    • 25 Red-winged Blackbirds ( They like swampy areas, but I only see them in the late winter at the feeder )
    • 4 Brown-headed Cowbirds
    • 1 Snowy Egret ( Pierre, our cocker spaniel likes to chase them off from the back pond! )
    • 6 Yellow-rumped Warbler
    •  14 Mourning doves ( our regular staple )
    • Two Turkey Vultures
    • 1 Rufous-Sided Towhee
    • 4 Carolina Wren
    • a bunch of some kind of ground hugging sparrow( unofficial count since I don't recognize the species. )
Whew, that's a pretty diverse count but nothing new flew in this year. Louisiana has a diverse crowd because it is a major stopping point, coming and going, along the Mississippi flyway. Every early spring, I get a visit from a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak couple. The female arrives a day behind the male and they only stay for a few days and then, they are gone till next year. This has happened every year except 2005 because of Katrina.

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