I participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count last year and again this year. In January I also joined and have been keeping a count with Project FeederWatch, a cooperative research project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Bird Studies Canada, the National Audubon Society and the Canadian Nature Federation. The FeederWatch season runs for 21 weeks, from November through April. Participants may count birds for two consecutive days each week, and submit up to 21 bird counts, with at least FIVE days between each pair of count days. FeederWatch requires a participants fee ($15), without which the project could not continue.
Here are my results, with 3 counts reported so far.
Checklist for FeederWatch Virginia Birds
February 13, 2010 (Also the weekend of the Great Backyard Bird Count where I also submitted this data).
|Eastern Bluebird||16 *Confirmed|
February 6, 2010:
|Eastern Bluebird||13 *Confirmed|
January 30, 2009:
|Eastern Bluebird||14 *Confirmed|
*Note the 'Confirmed' after each Eastern Bluebird entry. Each time I entered in my numbers, I was automatically 'flagged' and had to separately verify that I was not entering these numbers in error. The website explains that although the number seen might be a usual occurance in your own yard, it is 'unusual' for what is being reported in your general area.
I am not sure 'why' such a high number of Eastern Bluebirds are attracted to my yard--but I am not complaining!
At any given time, there are a variety of bird species in my yard all at once!
When I report 13, 14 or 16 Eastern Bluebirds, I am not referring to what I see 'on and off', tallying them them up to get a cumulative total. No, I'm referring to 5 Bluebirds on one birdfeeder, 2 Bluebirds on another feeder, 3 Bluebirds sitting on a pole, 1 Bluebird standing on a snowpile and eating the snow, and/or Bluebirds at one of the suet feeders...all at the same time.
I only report the total as 'the most of each variety that I actually see, all in my yard at one time'.
So, if I see 8 Bluebirds in the yard at 1:03, and at 1:28 I see 14 Bluebirds, I report my total for the day as 14.
That way, I don't risk counting the same bird more than once-which is very important for accurate data.
Of course, we're not just talking bluebirds here. There are Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers...(they look very much alike, but the Hairy's are larger, and their beaks are just a bit longer). I don't believe I have any Hairy's in photos here, but I have had them at the feeders...
Male and female Downy's:
Dark Eyed Juncos...
One of the birds I've seen very little of this year is the Blue Jay. I seem to remember having read something about others experiencing similar results. The same goes for the American Robin, but with just the opposite result. Similar to the Bluebirds, I've noticed a huge increase in their numbers this winter. Every so often there is what they call an 'irruption' of a particular species of birds. Last year, it was the Pine Siskin. There was an increase in their numbers in many areas. I have seen only a couple of Pine Siskins so far this year.
Hope you enjoyed my photos and the results of my count. It's 'ongoing' so I'm still sending in data.
Have a great day!
--Today I am thankful for the variety of birds that visit my yard, and for being able to share them through my blog.
Words and photos by Jan Huston DobleThanks For Today.