Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count has begun for 2009. This is an annual event hosted by the National Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This is my first year to participate, but I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Dave and I had noticed a new bird on our bird feeders within the past week and wondered what it was. With the help of their bird list of appropriate birds for our area and time of year, coupled with my bird hand book and their web site, I was able to identify this bird as a Pine Siskin. Here is a picture I took of my bird feeder.

Pine Siskins with one American Goldfinch

Pine Siskins with one American Goldfinch

The Pine Siskins have speckled bars going up and down their heads and breasts. The American Goldfinch has a solid drab yellow colored head and breast. The Goldfinch’s bright yellow coloring will return later in the spring when their mating season begins.

Can you find all eight birds in this picture? The Siskins and Goldfinches have flocked to our feeders in droves. It is very difficult to count either species when they are all mixed together and bouncing around, so I did my best to count everything to get a total count. Then I counted the species that seemed to have fewer numbers and subtracted that from the total.

I also counted several Cardinals, a Red Bellied Woodpecker and a Downy Woodpecker, a Mockingbird that was standing guard over the territory even though he wasn’t eating at the feeders, Titmice, Purple Finches, White-Throated Sparrows, a Chipping Sparrow, a Towhee, and a Blue jay. Later Dave and I went walking and saw and heard 9 crows flying overhead so I turned in a second count for the crows.

I encourage my readers to check out the Great Backyard Bird Watch on-line and either participate or check out the findings. See if anyone is posting for your community by selecting your state first. Have fun!