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The Great Backyard Bird Count Begins!

February 16, 2007


Chers Amis,

Last summer it was fungi that enraptured our attention. This February our passion is  birds, and today is the kickoff of the Great Backyard Bird Count. Are you all participating? It’s not too late! (Helene, j’aimerais bien savior quels oiseaux vous visitent!  Reportez s’il vous plait!)  It is all we can do to pull ourselves away from the windows, put down the binoculars, and let go of the guide book.  Caddie and I are the worst offenders. Caddie has set up an impromptu birdwatching station on my kitchen counter with binoculars, a list of birds sighted by date and her Waterford guide to Georgia birds.  The below freezing temperatures have not kept her from running out on the deck with bare feet and legs, clutching her binoculars when she spots movement. I usually follow 🙂 The Waterford Press has some great free activities and resources at   Waterford Game & Activities. I particularly liked the "Who Am I" worksheets which could be printed on cardstock and laminated at bird identification flash cards!

100_1066We started our day by making several new pinecone, peanut butter, bird seed, sunflower seed and dried cranberry feeders.   Scarlett also spread peanut butter on stale bread, sprinkled it with sunflower seeds
and set it down at our frozen birdSuet feeder and an experiment. My wonderful husband bought three new blocks of suet too, but it was too cold at 22 degrees F for Pine_conesme to get out the ladder and hang them.  That will be a job for Dad this weekend 🙂  It took a bit of time to make the feeders, but we wanted to make sure we had something to attract our feathered friends – and it worked!  We only identified one new species, but we saw multiples of several species for the first time and witnessed some interesting behavior.  Here is who we saw and the greatest number seen at one time:

2 Carolina Chickadees

2 Tufted Titmice

1 White-breasted nuthatch – He was a little clown, picking up seeds we had thrown on the ground, flying to the same three trees and storing them before popping back to earth for another load.

2 Brown-headed Nuthatches

1 Carolina Wren – rustling in and under the fallen leaves

1 Hermit Thrush – the partaker of Scarlett’s seed bread – Greedy or starving or slapped a Carolina Wren in the face with his tail to fight of the competition!

1 Pine Warbler – There were so many sightings of this time olive grey and yellow visitor, but never two at the same time.

1 Eastern Towhee

2 Northern Cardinals – male and female.  Scarlett said they were courting

3 Dark-eyed Juncos competing with the White-breasted Nuthatch for the sunflower seeds

1 Mourning Dove

1 American Robin – He was so fat we named him "Brother John" from Robin Hood fame

2 American CrowsYellow

2 Redbellied Woodpeckers

2 Downey Woodpeckers

2 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers who fought over a wild cherry tree that was dripping sap from a horizontal  line of fresh holes.  This was the highlight of our day, watching these two battle it out over the tree.  We think we saw a third, but aren’t sure.

We also saw a vulture circling above too high to identify and the shadow and back of a hawk.  We were so disappointed not to get a good view of him. Had it not been SO cold, we would have spent more time outdoors and surely could have seen more of these gorgeous creatures, but we had such a great time!

— Marjorie



4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2007 5:58 pm

    We saw *one* junco today. One of the hardest things for me to adjust to in living up here is the lack of birds in the winter. Even cardinals fly south. It’s eerie and lonely. But at least we have crows and hawks.

  2. hélène permalink
    February 18, 2007 1:17 pm

    Ici, en banlieue parisienne nous avons :
    des moineaux
    des mésanges bleues et charbonnières
    des pies (beaucoup)
    des rouge-gorges
    des merles
    des étourneaux sansonnets (disparus depuis quelques années, ouf !)
    des chardonnerets
    des pic verts
    et dans le parc à coté, des perruches qui ont dues être libérées de leur cage et qui survivent dans la forêt depuis quelques années (je les ai entendues mais jamais ves !)

    quant aux pigeons, ils préfèrent Paris et ses jardins publics !

  3. February 19, 2007 8:58 pm

    Marjorie, I am so glad you shared your list! We have been counting this weekend, but my Bookworm was in charge of the tally – I’ll have to check it tomorrow. 🙂

  4. February 20, 2007 5:33 am

    Great job, Marjorie. Birding is one of my favorite hobbies. Enjoy!!!

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