Last weekend was the Audubon Great Backyard Bird Count, an annual event that encourages citizen scientists to get out into their backyards to count birds. Longtime readers of my blog will know that our family’s first ornithologist is my cat Goldilocks, who will be 15 this year. She’s still an avid watcher of all feathered friends that visit her window, and she encouraged me to spend a few hours in my backyard blind for the bird count.
The list we compiled wasn’t too bad for a suburban backyard. Highlights included:
- Northern Cardinals (breeding pair)
- Brown Thrashers (breeding pair)
- Common Ground Doves (breeding pair)
- Tons of Mourning Doves (anxious suitors)
- Painted Buntings (just friends*)
* Rich’s contribution to this blog post!
Of course we are thrilled each year to host Painted Buntings in our backyard, and I counted 8 for the bird count (4 males, 4 greenies). I regularly report my Painted Buntings to the Painted Bunting Observation Team, as they track the movement of buntings between Florida (wintertime) and the Carolinas (summertime). I hope that someday the banders can make it to my backyard. It would be wonderful to see how many of the birds return each year.
We are still seeing American Robins pass through the neighborhood, although their numbers are down from a few weeks ago. Goldy and I heard the chatter of some robins and went to investigate. We found them in the top of our oak tree. So we revived an old tradition of using our guest bedroom as a photography blind – the window looks right out into the tree!
While I was sitting in my backyard blind, the birds were a little wary of my presence, but they didn’t seem to mind me too much. This Common Ground Dove didn’t see me at all. He flew right into the blind to perch on one of the walls. I tried to not move, so as not to scare him. When he did notice me, the incredulity was amusing. It was like he was saying, “where did you come from? This is my spot!” He flew a little way off and let me take a picture.
With my Painted Buntings and American Goldfinches, you may find it amusing that one of my desired backyard shots is of one of the most common birds around, the Mourning Dove. They’ve always made me laugh with the sound their wings make in flight. It sounds like they are warning, “Look out below!” (It’s rather wise advise as they are not the most coordinated birds.) I don’t have a good image of a Mourning Dove in flight. I’ll have to work on that. :). In the meantime, this bird was showing off his iridescent plumes on the bird feeder. Pretty!
Goldy and I totaled 17 species in the backyard, including a Bald Eagle fly-over. Not bad! You can check out our eBird list below. Now, go outside and count some birds! ;-)
Find my birding list from today on eBird.