The Great Backyard Bird Count comes to a close today. Each year, bird watchers across the country have been keeping an eye on their feeders and their trees for any and all birds that paid them a visit. We've kept track of the different species as well as how many of those we saw.
The official site makes it easy to do, even giving us lists of birds that are common to our area. To help with identification, links to Cornell's site for each species are given. I didn't see any unusual birds during my count, which I did this morning, but we aren't having the best weather today either. Freezing rain and wind no doubt kept many birds huddled in a warm spot somewhere!
However, some of the most common birds we see here in the winter braved the weather to grab some berries from the Washington hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum) trees and from those that had fallen to the ground. The feeder, which is usually a constant hub of activity, was ignored by all except a lone blue jay.
Robins all winter, you ask? Yes! Many robins stay here in northwest Ohio and don't go south, although many of the ones we see may actually be from further north, in Canada. I guess it's all relative when it comes to temperature! Robins stay if they've got a food source and in our yard, they've certainly got that.
For this reason, seeing robins at this time of year is not a sign of spring in our area. The more reliable harbinger is the red-winged blackbird. (More on this tomorrow!) No blackbirds showed up for the count period, but during the hour I kept count, I did see these:
Mourning Dove: 1
Blue Jay: 2
Sparrows (unspecified species): 5
American Robin: 13
The robins were seen all at once, in one tree and on the ground below it. They spent the entire hour that I watched, munching away.
Several of you also participated in the count:
- Dan, from Nature Observances in Connecticut, saw a red-winged blackbird, too!
- Nathan and Kelly, of Barrie, Ontario, Canada, show their birds at Petals Wings and Things Photography.
- Frances of Fairegarden (in Tennessee) has photos of birds common in her yard and the tally of species she saw.
- Kathleen, who blogs at Kasey's Korner and lives in Colorado, has an adorable photo of a house finch taking a bath.
- Becky, at Native Backyard, watches birds in North Carolina and saw quite a diverse lot of birds!
- John, in New Jersey, has several posts about the days he participated on A DC Birding Blog.
- Rose, at Prairie Rose's Garden in Illinois, had a visitor of another kind at her feeder!