For the first time ever, I participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count, going on through tomorrow, Feb. 16. Here are the instructions from the website:
It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
1. Plan to count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, February 13–16, 2009. You can count for longer than that if you wish! Count birds in as many places and on as many days as you like—one day, two days, or all four days. Submit a separate checklist for each new day. You can also submit more than one checklist per day if you count in other locations on that day.
2. Count the greatest number of individuals of each species that you see together at any one time. You may find it helpful to print out your regional bird checklist to get an idea of the kinds of birds you’re likely to see in your area in February. You could take note of the highest number of each species you see on this checklist.
3. When you’re finished, enter your results through our web page. You’ll see a button marked “Enter Your Checklists!” on the website home page beginning on the first day of the count (February 13, 2009). It will remain active until the deadline for data submission on March 1, 2009.
Sitting at breakfast in my jammies and slippers, I noticed a lot of activity at the sunflower seed feeder just outside the window and began to count. The morning was sunny, the snow from two days ago not yet melted.
Soon peering through window glass wasn’t good enough, so I grabbed my long down coat, gloves, and shoes and joined the birds on the deck. They hurried away, of course, as soon as I opened the door.
I brushed light snow off a seat on the deck and photographed a few sweet bird tracks on the picnic table in front of me.
After a while the birds began trickling back to the yard. You have to sit quietly in one place for some time for them to show up again. When you become part of the landscape, if they don’t quite forget about your presence, at least they resume more normal activity.
My visitors this morning included all the usual suspects. Here, copied straight from the email sent to me after I submitted an online report:
- Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) – 1
- Black-billed Magpie – 1
- Black-capped Chickadee – 3
- American Robin – 1
- Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) – 1
- Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) – 4
- House Finch – 3
- Pine Siskin – 2
- 1 black-rumped runner headed up the hill on the trail beside our house.