Sunday, February 14, 2016

Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count is going on this weekend and it is super-fun. Once you are organized, that is. We had several rounds of tears before we got our system straight. We ended up posting one girl for the front yard and one girl for the backyard, instead of Leah trying to run back and forth. We also tried looking through identification guides DURING the watching period (15 minutes) but then the girls got frustrated because they were looking at the computer instead of out the window and were missing what was going on. So it was decided that they would watch, identify species, count how many of each species they observed, and make some quick notes as to the size/shape/color of the mystery birds and then we could identify them after the timer dinged.

We don't have a bird identification guide but we will definitely be buying one today because the girls are more and more interested! As the number of feeders increases in our yard, the bird traffic does as well. When desperate you can always Google a description such as "small slate grey bird white belly"(dark-eyed junco), but we also liked the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website because they have a Browse by Shape feature. Simply click on a silhouette that looks like the bird and then narrow it down by color.

We have two suet feeders and six seed feeders and a bird bath right now. In her Man and Animal MLB Leah did a two-page spread of "Beautiful Birds in My Backyard" with illustrations and a bird poem, and then another two-page spread with a diagram of the yard and all the feeders, and her GBBC data. In 15 minutes she and Natalie observed

8 species total

1 Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus

3 Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata

5 American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos

1 White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis

5 European Starling Sturnus vulgaris

21 Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis

1 Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia

16 Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinals

We woke up this morning to several unexpected inches of snow so it was a perfect day for birdwatching!

In addition to a bird guide I'd like to buy the 1937 Newbery honor biography Audubonby Constance Rourke. I read it during my Newbery obsession several years ago and I really want my own copy. It was so well written! You don't always find modern books that are such good reading! And I was fascinated by the idea that he may be the lost prince of France, the son of Marie Antoinette, spirited out of the palace on the night his parents were dragged off, and sent to America to safety. Amazing.

1 comment:

Renee said...

2016 Certificate of Participation: