Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Bird Count


      As most readers know, the Christmas bird count is an important event for me. It's fun to be outside for a whole day and have a good excuse for watching birds. 

      In the last 45 years I have done the count close to 40 times. I have always done the same area and the odd year have taken on a second area when no one was able to count in an important area. 

     As you can see I prefer to count in natural areas.

I spend time on this bridge as birds cross the open area of the creek

Habitat varies

There are some open areas.

Edges of treed areas are good places to look

     Sometimes it's been very cold and a couple of times I didn't go out as the birds would not be moving and so there wouldn't be much to count. Besides, I'm not that dedicated that I would freeze my nose.

     Yesterday was just about right. We had temperatures from minus 2 C(28 F) to plus 2 C(36 F). There was very little wind and it was partly cloudy. In my last 10 minutes the wind started to blow. You will see from photos that it's pretty dull for partly cloudy conditions.

    My count was about average. I saw 9 species. (Red breasted nuthatch, black capped chickadee, blue jay, magpie, raven, house finch, house sparrow, downy woodpecker and pileated woodpecker). I saw one species that I couldn't identify as I couldn't get close enough to them. Other possibilities were 3 species of owls, bohemian waxwings, hairy woodpecker, black backed woodpecker, kinglet, pine siskin, crossbills, pigeons, brown creeper, pine grosbeak, evening grosbeak. So there's lots out there to see. Some of these may have been in the area but I missed them.  My total of birds was about 45. I saw a magpie "hissy fit" and I didn't get a count but there were probably 50 birds that flew by.

    To top off the day we had a super pot luck supper. I forgot my camera but last years photo will give you the idea.

More good food

More great people

34 comments:

  1. Good job Red, you are a dedicated bird counter! We have been seeing a Magpie or two around here, I hope someday to get a photo:)

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    1. the magpie population around her has gone crazy. I'll send you some with the next snow storm.

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  2. That does sound like a great way to spend a winter day!

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    1. You're out all day and each year it's different.

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  3. Grand weather for it. It would be interesting to see the statistics for the last forty years.

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    1. Statistics vary widely but you're looking for trends. Some birds disappear for a few years and then come back. Rarely are any birds counted at a consistent rate.

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  4. My Cardinals live in the bushy cedar tree right beside the house. They get food and fresh water every day. I have even been able to string up some bird treats along the pine trees in front of our river. I went down yesterday to check em out and the treats are all being eaten. These should last them till after Christmas. You and your crew do a great job and truly help in the count, which is most important. I remember those photos and have a wonderful day.

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    1. I didn't know you had cardinals there. we don't have cardinals here. Yes I do feed birds as well.

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  5. Nice job you did and spotted a variety of birds. It is great to be out and looking for some figures in the trees.

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    1. I should get out more. It is fun.

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  6. Sounds like a good time Red. I would love to see a Magpie someday. B

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    1. You don't have magpies there? I'll send you all of mine. they're actually quite pest.

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  7. Love the winter scenes Red (we're sweltering in the Australian northern tropics from where I sit) so it's lovely seeing your snowy scenes. Seems to marry up much better with Christmas than the tropics!
    You have many birds that we never see here, so that's a treat too.
    Christmas greetings from across the world.

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    1. Thanks and you have a good Christmas too. I enjoy seeing the tropical birds. We have very few species that overwinter.

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  8. Lots of species to see. I saw a Cornell birding message earlier.

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    1. It's surprising how many species are around. I have seen robins for my count about 5 times.

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  9. If I could identify birds better, I'd count them, too. Gives a good reason for being outdoors, but I'm limited to just a few. Can you identify them by their song as well as seeing them? I know a few my song that I never see. :-)

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    1. You would have no problem with counting and identifying birds. Yes you recognize and identify birds by sound. There are excellent CDs on bird calls About half the birds I count are from sound only . Sound also tells you birds are there.

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  10. really nice of you to stick to this - 40 times out of 45 years is awesome!

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    1. Thus area is close to my house so I sort of think of it as my own territory.

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  11. I love that idea of bird counting. I need to do this. I love taking pictures of birds and we also keep bird feeders all winter for them to have food. We also have a bird bath and it is amazing to see the birds waiting on water if the bath is empty. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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    1. Yes by all means get out and count. You will be assigned an area and then report what you see. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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  12. Sounds like fun! And your winter photos are fabulous!

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    1. Thanks and it is fun. It's always surprising what you get.

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  13. Red your photos look fantastic, you're busy as I can see, sorry but I still am and have about 100 things to tend to today and get things off of this desk so we can have a calm and relaxed dinner tomorrow. I'll be back after Christmas to catch up. Take care and good on ya for getting the new camera! I look forward to tons more photos in the New Year! :-)

    Merry Christmas!

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    1. Thanks. Have a great Christmas! I have to do some home work before I get going with the new camera.

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  14. I imagine keeping track of these birds provides a good indication of the health of your woodlands. Take care and Happy Holidays.

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    1. WE get trends from these counts and that's about all. Most bird populations seem to vary. There's the odd time they can tell if a species is in trouble.

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  15. Wow, 40 outta the last 45 years! That's awesome! I wouldn't wanta freeze my hinny off counting birds that were smart enough to stay home! :)
    Merry Christmas Red!
    Cheri

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    1. You keep moving and you keep warm. You know that one as well as I do!

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  16. This looks like so much fun. You must have the best eye sight around to have counted all those birds. When we were on the Sundarbans in Bangladesh on that wildlife tour, I kept missing the birds when our tour guide would point them out. Sigh.... I would need to walk right next to you to see them with high powered binoculars... oh.. and maybe I should wear my glasses. :-)

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    1. For urban raised people it's hard to get used to watching for wild life. I've spent all my life in natural areas. I enjoy trips to Hawaii as I get to see many birds that are different.

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  17. I'd enjoy being out on those trails!

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  18. There's been very few birds around my house the last few days. I'd have had a pretty miserable total compared with most other times of year.

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