Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)

House Finches in the Patio

This weekend I participated in a bird count for the first time. The Great Backyard Bird Count took place over four days: February 16-19. I limited my observations to the birds I could see in or flying over my 2500 square foot patio.

Here are my maximum counts – a total of 170 birds, 19 species.

Abert's Towhee - 2
Anna's Hummingbird - 3
Cactus Wren - 2
Cooper's Hawk- 2
Curve-billed Thrasher - 4
Gambel's Quail - 14
Gila Woodpecker - 4
Greater Roadrunner - 1
Great-tailed Grackle - 5
House Finch - 40
House Sparrow - 25
Lesser Goldfinch - 10
Mourning Dove - 45
Northern Cardinal - 2
Northern Mockingbird - 2
Phainopepla - 4
Red-tailed Hawk - 2
Vermilion Flycatcher - 1
White-crowned Sparrow - 2

I rated myself as Fair (the lowest possible) for bird identification ability/experience. I haven’t yet learned to distinguish the sparrows or to be certain of the finches. Habitat, location: suburban, yard. Snow: none.

I checked the Top Ten Lists and was happy to see that as of this morning Tucson, Arizona came in fourth in localities reporting the most species and seventh in localities submitting the most checklists. Arizona came in fourth in States/Provinces submitting the most checklists. Of the ten most frequently reported birds nationwide, the following were on my list: Northern Cardinal, Mourning Dove, House Finch and House Sparrow.

I knew that Clare of The House and Other Arctic Musings was participating. So just for fun, I checked the Nunavut counts. One specie: Common Raven, count 148 – from 5 checklists. Clare counted 67 in one location. John of A DC Birding Blog blew me away with his reports, including 1400 Canada Geese at Hains Point and the Tidal Basin. Bootstrap Analysis in Michigan had some interesting sightings, too. I'd love to hear about other results.

This was fun and I hope to do it again next year. Meanwhile, I need to learn more about finches and sparrows.


Endment said...

I cparticipated but wasn't going to send in my counts thinking it was just for my own interest and edification - your count encouraged me and I sent mine in.
I saw a few more birds because I had a flock of 100 plus American Goldfinches come in in addition to our normal resident core of about 30 goldfinches. we had about six inches of snow on the ground We actually have about seven acres but most of the birds are in or near the feeders which makes my viewing area around half an acre.
I sure would like to see your Vermillion Flycatcher!!!

Nancy said...

We participated in the Great American Bird Count last year ... this year I just didn't get to it. Wat a fun experience it was, and I actually learned some about the frequency of several species at our feeder.

Kerri said...

I was a bit late thinking/hearing about it. I may do it next year. It sounds like fun.
You certainly have a large variety of birds in your 'backyard'. I love hearing about your bird observations and seeing your wonderful pictures.

Rhea said...

Wow, all in your backyard?! Amazing. I love birds. Around me it's pretty run of the mill.

Anonymous said...

Hello, there!
My name is Rosanna I know your are a bird lover, and I need some tips about feeding the backyard bird. Actually I am in a city of Texas, and I live in an apartment instead of a house. I wanted to feed the birds, but all that came to eat are house sparrows except one pair of Northern Cardinals. I just learned house sparrows are considered “bad” by people, in this sense, I should not feed them, but I still want to feed the cardinals. What should I do? I am using a bag of “wild bird seeds mix”, but both the cardinals and the sparrows eat them. I wonder in your knowledge, is there anything that cardinals like to eat while detested by the sparrows? Is that possible? Am I wrong if in order to feed the Cardinal I also feed a bunch of sparrows? I am so puzzled now.
I will be very appreciative of your reply! Thank you! My e-mail is

Henry Walloon said...

Amazing statistic.

Here in the UK my total garden over period of 3+years count is only 23 species. 19 species in only a few days quite an achievement.