Great Backyard Bird Count - 2011

Skybird - z5, Denver, ColoradoJanuary 20, 2011

Hi All,

I haven't gotten too many of you interested in this in the past, but the Great Backyard Bird Count is coming up again, on February 18-21 this year, and I'm gonna keep trying! This "count" helps the folks at Cornell keep track of which and how many birds are where, and track changes in the populations

You don't need to go anywhere or do anything really special to participate in this, all you need to do is to keep a piece of paper handy on the day/days of the Count and mark down whatever you happen to see in your yard, then go to the web site and fill in the numbers of the birds you've seen. If you're not sure what some of them are, you can find ID info on the site, or you can just skip them and count the ones you recognize. Most of what we have in our urban yards are pretty common birds.

If you're at all interested, check out the link below for the details, and ask if you have questions you can't find answered there. Maybe I can help---and maybe I can't!

Hope we have a bunch of counters around here this year,


Here are some direct links to a few of the info pages!

Why Count Birds?

How do you do it?

Here's an example of what one of the checklists looks like! [Whoops! Just discovered I can't link directly to a specific checklist, but just put your zip code in and see the list for your area! The list you'll see is the "common" birds you'll see in your area, and if you click on "show with rare species" on top, it'll show pretty much all of the possibilities!]

Here is a link that might be useful: Great Backyard Bird Count!

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treebarb Z5 Denver

Skybird, I was curious about it last year, but didn't know the species of the birds I was looking at. I've been going through the checklist to help me identify my little flock here.
Because my horses get grain in the winter about 30 to 50 chickadees and sparrows hang out here, cleaning up the horse's spills. I actually put up a feeder for the first time a few months ago, but the horses could reach it and helped themselves. I've finally settled on hanging the feeder in a snag in front of the barn, as the birds settle there a few times a day.
I do need to study up more as the males and females look so different. There is also one small, shy bird that isn't a sparrow or chickadee that shows up and waits for the others to eat before taking a turn. I haven't figured out what that one is, but I'll find out eventually.
Thanks for the reminder that the count is coming up!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 8:21AM
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treebarb Z5 Denver

It's too soon for this post to go away, so, bump!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 6:16PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Time to bump this back up one more time!

Today is the day! The Great Backyard Bird Count starts today! It runs from Friday thru Monday. All they ask is that you spend 15 minutes or more on any one or more of the days to count the birds you see, and then go back to the site and record what you saw.


P. S. Barb, thanks for bumping it back up!

Here is a link that might be useful: Great Backyard Bird Count Info!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 1:06AM
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Dan Staley

Red headed finches, pigeons, ding-dang Canada geese, red tailed hawk...boring out here this time of year...


    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 2:33PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

The latest from the GBBC!

The 14th annual Great Backyard Bird Count has begun!

As of 2:00 PM Friday we have:

Checklists: 1,380
Species: 306
Birds: 989,746

Red tailed hawk isn't boring at all, Dan! I'd LOVE to see one around here! And do you really get Canada geese in your yard? Or are you looking "across the way," or did you go out somewhere else? I can't even imagine getting big, noisy, dirty geese in my yard! I've come up with a pretty good "black bird dispersal system" to keep THEM out of my yard, and if a Canada goose ever showed up it would get a VERY unpleasant reception!

I've hardly had anything in my yard so far today! A robin, a hairy woodpecker, and a couple house finches! Talk about boring!!! I just filled up the suet feeder, which had been empty for a week, so maybe this afternoon will pick up a little bit! I'm actually starting to wonder if maybe some of my birds died off in the last cold snap we had! I had LOTS of birds, especially the usual "flock" of house finches right up until then, but since then I've hardly seen any of them. Very strange! It's supposed to get a little bit colder over the weekend, and it'll be interesting to see if that draws more back here!


    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 3:34PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Guess I'm spoiled around here. I see bald eagles on the way to the grocery store this time of year : )

I've got to go out of town tomorrow, but I'm hoping to take one or two of the kids out on Monday for a little hiking/bird counting. We don't get very many birds here at the house, probably since we don't have any bird feeders. The paper wasps kept using them to build nests!


    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 6:47PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

I just figured out the dearth of birds in my yard---for today at least!

Just went out to cover my WS stuff and tuck it back into its corner, and then took a walk around the yard to pet some of my spring bulbs and toasted perennials, and, lo and behold: a pile of feathers! Not sure how I missed it, but at some point today a hawk or falcon came for a visit---and a meal! I even found a foot with a bloody leg attached where it had been ripped off of the body! It was a house finch that "it" got, but I really wonder what IT was! Apparently even if I didn't see it, the birds did!

Overall I had a very "slow" day. Never saw more than one robin at a time, but I did see both the male and female hairy woodpeckers, and I did see ONE goldfinch! Really hoping for better luck tomorrow---for me AND the birds!

Bonnie, when I first moved up to this end of town 120th was the "end" of the city, and it was wild and wooly up here with big old cottonwoods over the fields of prairie dogs along 120th. At the time I was working at the garden center in Westminster where I was before Paulino's, and I took 120th all the way down to Federal, and then Federal south to 92nd. It was common for me to count a dozen bald eagles along the way between home and work! WAY cool! Now, of course, it's all citified and there are no more big, old trees or empty fields---and no more eagles! I'm guessin' they've all moved over to Rocky Mountain Arsenal!

The Birds! The Birds!


    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 7:31PM
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Dan Staley

The geese are smart enough not to land in my yard, else they'll be dinner. They fly directly overhead 4-7x/week. As do the gulls. Had a robin the other day but not lately. Otherwise the synanthropic species haven't moved in yet as our tree cover isn't mature, so we have to content ourselves with the migratory songbirds. I've seen one squirrel in the 'hood.

BTW, finally finishing my 'naturalist's kit' today, to be fully prepared for bird walks, at same time picking up potting soil to staaaaart some seeeeee-eeeds! Eggplant, habanero, toms...


    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 11:14AM
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Dan Staley

Ooooh! oooh! I saw a male kestrel try and take a songbird on the wing!


    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 6:33PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Wow! I envy you, Dan! It sounds like you have all kinds of great birds! I've never seen a kestrel at all---as far as I know!!! You must have been looking at just the right time to spot something like that! How cool!

Hardly any birds at all in my yard today---but hardly a fair count since I was out in the yard "playing" for a couple hours! Just had a few house finches, one robin, and one flicker--that never even made it out of the tree down to the suet feeder! Quite a let-down so far from last year when I had TWELVE robins all at the same time at one point! Had never seen that before, and don't really expect to ever see that many at the same time again, but I usually have more than ONE around!

Tomorrow's supposed to be colder, so I'll be inside, and maybe a few more will show up to eat--and hopefully not be eaten!


    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 7:24PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

So why is it that I see hawks and bald eagles while driving to pick kids up from school, but when I spend two hours hiking along the river today, all I see are Canadian geese and magpies? This was the worst bird watching day I've had : (

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 4:29PM
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Dan Staley

In Sacramento one fine day, I was sitting outside in the backyard watching the pair of doves in the rose bed when all of a sudden there was a blur and a whump and the doves took off. A kestrel sat there on the ground for a moment, stunned, then lighted on the fence for a few minutes of recovery, then flew off. We had an amazing array of birds in that neighborhood, including a red hawk nest in my London plane in the front yard. And don't even get me started on the eagles and other raptors at my house in western Washington...

Comparatively, I'm sad here in the boonies until the migratory songbirds come back through, although the young robin is rifling all the sunflowers I left for them.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 9:47PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

I guess I'm with you this year, Bonnie!

I had the absolutely worst year ever for the bird count---all four days! It was almost as if the birds knew they were gonna be counted and stayed away on purpose! How's that for being paranoid!!! I had like just one robin each day, less than a dozen house finches each day, and not even ONE blackbird---not that I'm complaining about the lack of blackbirds! But it was kind of depressing to have all eight feeders and the bird bath filled up to the top---and not have anybody show up for dinner!

I reported my non-observations today, but it hardly seemed worth it this year! I guess I'll never really know why they all disappeared, but not too long ago, when we were posting about the flickers, I had lots of all my regular birds here---LOTS, and since the last cold snap it's as if they all flew-the-coop to warmer climes or something! Where or where have my little birds gone?

Hoping for better luck next year,

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 7:21PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

The count is OVER!

I just had TEN robins, 3 flickers, a bluejay, a HOARD of blackbirds, a house finch at every feeder port with more waiting in the wings, and Harryette!

I wasn't paranoid at all! They were HIDING!!!


    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 1:05PM
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