Like thousands of other folks across the continent, I just wrapped up a weekend of counting the birds for the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). This was my 7th year participating in the count.
I was able to count some all four days; Saturday and Sunday I only had a couple hours available before heading into the shop, but on Friday and Monday I was around all day to count.
I saw 16 different species of birds that I was able to report, including all the regulars: Black-capped Chickadee, Blue Jay, Hairy and Downy Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, Red- and White-breasted Nuthatch, Mourning Dove, Dark-eyed Junco, American Goldfinch, and Northern Cardinal.
But it's always the less frequent birds that you love to have show up for the count, and I had a few of them this year. The male Red-bellied Woodpecker that has been frequenting my feeders since the beginning of February showed up to be counted everyday. While red-bellieds are becoming more common in upstate New York, for me they've been very infrequent, with only 4 prior sightings before this current stay. Let's hope he sticks around, establishes a territory, and finds a mate this breeding season!
Purple Finches nest prolifically in my yard during the summer and regularly depart in the fall. But a small group of these gorgeous finches have returned to my yard this winter, first seen a couple weeks ago and showing up everyday for the GBBC. This was the first time I've been able to include these birds in my GBBC.
Since the end of December, I've had 2 Brown Creepers around somewhat regularly. I was excited with the thought of them showing up to be counted too. Three count days went by with no creepers. The morning of day 4 passes as well without any creepers. Finally, at 3:00pm on the final day, with only 2 hours or so of daylight left, 2 creepers showed up, spirally together up the big pine tree and foraging on the snow-covered ground. Just in time to be counted!
Species that showed up in bigger numbers included 23 Blue Jays, 16 goldfinches, and 11 chickadees. All in all, a nice bird count weekend, averaging 13 species and 52 individual birds each day. Another GBBC under the belt, but the counting continues...Project FeederWatch runs until early April!