Friday, February 06, 2009

What birds are in your backyard?

What birds are in your backyard?

Do you feed the birds and watch them in your backyard? If not, why not take a few minutes and just see how many different varieties are in your backyard. Don’t know one bird from the other, no problem, the internet is an excellent source of information as well as books you can find at any book store or even your local library. Watching birds is a wonderful ‘hobby’ the entire family can get involved with.

Do you know about the Great Backyard Bird Count that is held every year by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society? This year it is being held from February 13-16. 15 minutes on one or more of those days is all that is needed, however you can count for longer if you wish. You can
find all the information here. There is even a special page just for kids. You can print out a regional bird list from to help in your count. How do you count the birds? Just count the greatest number of the same species that you see at the any one time in your backyard, at the feeder or even in a nearby park. Oh, if you like taking pictures, be sure to take a few, photos can be uploaded to GBBC (Great Backyard Bird Count) and submitted to the contest they hold every year. You can view the GBBC photo gallery here. Got a minute, look through the gallery there are some really beautiful bird shots there.

Why count birds? With your help the scientists can learn and have questions answered. A team of scientists could never document the movements of so many species in such a short time – that is where you come in. It doesn’t matter how big or small your count is every bit of information they receive brings them closer to answers from questions such as:
How will the winter’s snow and cold influence bird populations?
How will the timing of birds’ migrations compare with past years?
How are bird diseases, such as West Nile virus, affecting birds in different regions?
Are any birds undergoing worrisome declines that point to the need for conservation attention?
And many more.

I look forward to the bird count each year. At the GBBC site you can see the counts from people in your state. I find it interesting to check through the different towns even my own and see how people are reporting and what they are seeing for birds. What birds are in my backyard now? Not a big variety but more of each species than I remember from last year. Chickadees rarely ever come to our feeders where we live in an open field but this winter we have had a small group of six daily along with Red Polls, Goldfinches, Blue Jays and a couple woodpeckers. Some days a group of Mourning Doves will stick around. The Snow Buntings have been stopping by off and on and since they vary so from day to day in number I am thinking that we are seeing different groups as they head back up North to their summer breeding range. Some days we only see one or two and other days there might be thirty out there.

Enjoy your day and don’t forget to take a moment and look around your backyard! :) Coppertop



  1. Loved the snow bunting photo. Thanks for the reminder about the bird count.

  2. I like the snowbuntings on the little mounds, so cute !


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