Counting birds

Today Patrick and I fit in 15 minutes of watching birds at our feeder. He was somewhat distracted by some new toys he received from visiting grandparents, but helped point out birds nonetheless. We did this last year, in Butte, Montana. Why? For Audubon/Cornell Lab’s citizen science program The Great Backyard Bird Count 2011 (Feb 18-21), which is:

an annual four-day 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. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds.

We saw:

Western Scrub-Jay – 1
Black-capped Chickadee – 1
Red-breasted Nuthatch – 1
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) – 32
House Sparrow – 47

The feeder was essentially battleground between lots of House Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos, and, seeing that most of the juncos were on the ground beneath, I’d say the sparrows won.

House Sparrows, The Great Backyard Bird Count 2011

House sparrows

Dark-eyed Junco, The Great Backyard Bird Count 2011

Dark-eyed Junco

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6 Responses to Counting birds

  1. we have a similar event here in the U.K. called ‘The Big Garden Bird Watch’ and it is held over the last weekend of January. Sadly, I didn’t see that many sparrows, in fact I didn’t see any! The House Sparrow was once a very common bird here but has now sharply declined in numbers. The last time I saw numbers of Sparrows such as you reported would be when I was a little older than Patrick is now (I’m now 43), so cherish your ‘spuggies’, you will miss them if they go.

    Best wishes,
    Ruth

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