Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Great Back Yard Bird Count.

For the last couple of years, we have participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count. It is fun, easy, and educational. It also helps the birds, by documenting information for scientists, about the bird populations and where they are being seen. We always end up seeing or identifying a new bird each year.

i snapped a few pictures this year, although all of these photo were taken inside out of a window...so the quality isn't the best.

American goldfinch in winter plumage. i counted about 15 goldfinch on and around my feeders. We have these guys everywhere, year round. In the summer they are always hanging out in the garden eating the insects and in the fall they feast on the sunflower and cosmos seeds in the flower beds. In the winter they are my most common visitor.

This is a Pine Siskin. This is the first time i have identified one of these, although i see them often. i always thought this was a female goldfinch, since they hang out together and have a bit of yellow on the wings. However, after checking my bird book i realized it was something different. i then thought it was a type of sparrow, but it just didn't fit any of the descriptions perfectly. Since it was so similar in size and behavior to the goldfinch, i decided to look up other varieties of finch and that is when i came across the Pine Siskin.

White breasted Nut Hatch. Nutch hatches are really fun birds to watch. They can run up and down the trunks of trees. They are also really noisy. :) We always see a few of these guys around, often running up the oak tree behind the house.

This year, we have had quite a few Purple finch visiting our feeders. i orignally thought these were house finches which look very similar, but was able to identify them by the patterning on the females. The females are not red/purple but brown/white speckled. The females of the purple finch have an obvious white 'eyebrow' stripe, that the house finch lacks.

We have had one Red Bellied woodpecker, visit our feeder daily. Behind him there is a dark-eyed Junco. They are another really common bird here during the winter.

We also saw and counted many other birds this weekend. Many were too shy, or too far away for me to get a picture. We saw /documented
1 pilated wood pecker
1 red bellied wood pecker
1 Blue Jay
2 Cardinals (male and female)
2 Tufted Titmice
3 Mourning Doves
3 Carolina Chickadees
3 Fox sparrows
8 Dark eyed junco
12 Pine Siskin
15 Goldfinch
55 crows (flying over head)

These were all counted just at our feeders, or in the yard. It is always fun to see the variety of birds that visit the feeders each year, to be able to identify them and occasionally see something new.

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