Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Great Backyard Bird Count 2012

We should just change the name to Love in the Time of Chickadees, shouldn't we? Yes, this is another post about extant avian theropods, but what can I say? If apologies are required, I give them willingly, though if you'll indulge a little whining I'll let you know that this semester has been a real bear. In addition to my school work proper, I'm working on an (almost done) catalog for our school's graduating MFA class, which is my first cover-to-cover book design. Exciting, but a mountain to climb. Still, I regret the scarcity of my posts here lately, and I'll try to correct it when possible. Anyway, back to those little theropods.

This weekend is The Great Backyard Bird Count, an annual event "that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent." Today, I was able to do three observations of fifteen minutes or more, thus meeting the minimum requirement. The feeder in my dogwood tree was full of oiler seeds, the suet cage was stocked, and I'd spread some seed for the ground foragers to have at. Here are the results of the three periods, all dutifully reported at the count's website.

Count 1
Mourning Dove: 2
American Crow: 2
Black-capped Chickadee: 2
Tufted Titmouse: 1
White-breasted Nuthatch: 2
Carolina Wren: 1
Northern Cardinal: 3

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse, by me. From Flickr.

Count 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker: 1
Black-capped Chickadee: 2
Tufted Titmouse: 1
White-breasted Nuthatch: 2
Northern Cardinal: 1
House Finch: 3

Black Capped Chickadee
Black-Capped Chickadee, by me. From Flickr.

Count 3
Mourning Dove: 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker: 1
Downy Woodpecker: 1
Black-capped Chickadee: 1
Tufted Titmouse: 2
White-breasted Nuthatch: 2
Dark-eyed Junco: 3
Northern Cardinal: 3
House Finch: 2

White-Breasted Nuthatch
White-Breasted Nuthatch, by me. From Flickr.

All in all, the usual suspects came by, with a few lamentable absences, including a nice, big Northern Flicker, the gang of Goldfinches, and blue jays. Still, a satisfying little foray into citizen science. Speaking of which, have you heard about the American Kestrel Partnership? In its early stages, it's an attempt to bring citizen scientists into the task of collecting data that will be used to study why American Kestrel populations are declining in some eastern states in the US. It's also the inspiration for my next project in my screenprinting class, so this won't be the last you've heard of it here.


  1. Great stuff. Beautiful pictures too.

    There was a similar thing across the pond here too last month, the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) Big Garden Birdwatch.

  2. I love watching woodpeckers. If you have a nearby feed store, raw peanuts are relatively inexpensive, and woodpecker (as well as many other birds) love 'em. Chickadees will roost on a branch for ten minutes to shell and eat one.

    1. I have never tried peanuts, but I just might do it. My struggle now is coexisting with squirrels, which I don't mind really, except when they completely devour all of my oilers in a day.

  3. Hey -- dinos are dinos, even the feathered kind! And delightful dinos they are.


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