Monday, February 16, 2015

Great Backyard Bird Count Wrap-up

A disappointing 2015 Great Backyard Bird Count has come to an end for me. While the first three days of the count featured fair to excellent weather and birding conditions, this last day was a bit of a wash - literally. It was wet and cold which resulted in my being able to spend only about thirty minutes actually looking at birds. I doubt if it would have mattered much if I'd been able to spend more time. There just weren't that many birds to see.

My weekend of birding in my yard ended with a total of 28 species. I also spent an hour or so on Saturday at Brazos Bend State Park and found 21 species. Even at the park, which is usually a very birdy place, there were not a lot of birds to be seen.

As of 6:00 P.M. this afternoon, my yard ranked 187th overall among the sites that had reported, but counts are still being entered and tabulated so that is almost sure to change. Birders will still be sending in their reports until the end of the month when data collection is closed.

Of the 28 species which I reported, all were common residents. I did not see any unusual or unexpected birds this year. I did have one Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a bird that is in the area during winter but one that I don't always see on my yard count. But other than that it was pretty ho-hum.

As usual, the most numerous bird that I was able to report was the American Goldfinch. I had flocks of 30 - 40 birds at the feeders at times.

The Chipping Sparrows were a close second. I've actually had more of these wonderful little birds this winter than I have in most winters. Flocks of 15 - 20 are common.

The White-winged Doves have been one of the surprises of the winter, in that there have not been the big flocks that I normally see in winter. It's rare to see as many as ten at the feeders at once, whereas in previous years they would have covered the feeders. More disappointingly, the White-wingeds were the only doves that I saw during this count. I did not have a single Eurasian Collared-dove, Inca Dove, or even a Mourning Dove to report.

  
A couple of times I had moderately-sized flocks of Brown-headed Cowbirds in the yard, but they were the only member of the blackbird family. I had no Common Grackles or Red-winged Blackbirds as I do in most years. 

Even the Cooper's Hawk that is present in the backyard on most days did not show up to be counted. At least the Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawk pairs were more cooperative.

The highlight of the count for me was the presence of a Red-headed Woodpecker this year. When we moved here in 1988, there were still plenty of woods in the area and plenty of Red-headed Woodpeckers present. Over the years, the woods have been cut down to provide house sites and the Red-heads have moved on. These days, it is rare to have one in or around my yard and so this one was very welcome indeed.

2 comments:

  1. The doves look so smooth, every feather in place. I finally had a Mourning Dove that I'd seen up the street come here last summer, but it hasn't shown up at my feeder. I love the sound they make when they fly, I don't know if all doves do that.

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    1. The Mourning Dove is my favorite in the dove family and no, not all doves make the sound with their wings when they fly. I was disappointed that no Mourning Doves showed up for my count.

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