Monday, 25 June 2007

Bird Roll Call

Yesterday I was out taking some pictures of the garden (again!) and decided to meander down to the bird feeders to see if I could be quiet enough and patient enough to take some pictures of the birds. I managed to get a couple decent shots with my little digital camera. After Tai Chi tonight I will post a picture of a female American Goldfinch that was at our finch feeder. [Edited to add: here's the picture!]

It seems to me that this year we have had an amazing variety of birds come to our feeders. So I decided last night to sit down and write out a list of all the birds we've seen in our yard. There were more than I thought! Some are with us year-round, and some come and go with the seasons. Here is a listing of the frequent, not so frequent and rare visitors to our yard:

  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Black Capped Chickadee
  • White Breasted Nuthatch
  • Blue Jay
  • American Crow
  • Black Billed Magpie
Not So Frequent:
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • American Goldfinch
  • Common Redpoll
  • Pine Grosbeak
  • Tree Swallow
  • Evening Grosbeak
  • House Finch
  • American Robin
  • Slate Race Junco
  • Winter or House Wren (probably the latter)
  • Tree Swallow (there are lots around here, but not in our yard very much since the House Wrens chased them away)
  • White Throated Sparrow (just here during migration I think)
  • American Tree Sparrow (also just passing through)
One timers:
  • A hummingbird I scared away by flailing my arms because I thought it was a huge bee
  • Some kind of grouse, probably a Ruffed Grouse
  • A Great Grey Owl - Gord captured his remarkable visit on video!
This is a total of 23 kinds of birds! We have about six feeders of various types around the yard, and we've been putting blackoil sunflower seeds, suet and peanuts out for three winters now, and niger seed out for one winter. In the summer we put out everything but the suet, because it seems to attract too many crows.

Also for the past two winters I have participated in the FeederWatch program, which is where from November through March you watch your birdfeeders for as little as two hours in total over two days and then report back on line which birds you have seen. It helps the scientists at Cornell Univeristy Ornithology Lab keep track of migration patterns and the growth or decline in bird populations across North America. Plus it is a nice way to spend a couple hours on a Winter weekend.

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