Monday, December 19, 2011

112th Annual Christmas Bird Count

The year 2011 is the 112th CBC, the first official Christmas Bird Count was in the year 1900. There's a pretty long run of citizen science for you.

As we have for over a decade, Tom, Lynn and I each participated in our own regional counts on Saturday, which meant West Campus was not counted that day. Instead we counted here today, and by the official rules we cannot add numbers, only species to the official tally - and only if it's a species that was not found in the New Haven circle on Saturday.

Two years ago our Barred Owl was added as one of these "count week" species. Today we weren't able to add any new species, but put in a good birding effort anyway.

Here are the results:

number in party: 3 (Lynn, me, Tom)
party hours: 7 (6:45 to 2:15 with a lunch break)
weather conditions: cold 20-28F, clear and calm in the early morning, partly cloudy and breezy through the mid-day.
no snow, moving water was open, still water with thin ice
number of species: 34
number of individual birds: 454

31 Canada Goose
1 Mute Swan
5 Wild Turkey
1 Turkey Vulture
4 Red-tailed Hawk

75 Ring-billed Gull
20 Herring Gull
30 Rock Pigeon
10 Mourning Dove
3 Red-bellied Woodpecker

6 Downy Woodpecker
1 Northern Flicker
7 Blue Jay
40 American Crow
1 Fish Crow

8 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Tufted Titmouse
2 White-breasted Nuthatch
2 Carolina Wren
3 Ruby-crowned Kinglet

1 Hermit Thrush
50 American Robin
1 Gray Catbird
2 Northern Mockingbird
43 European Starling

9 Song Sparrow
1 Swamp Sparrow
14 White-throated Sparrow
1 White-crowned Sparrow
2 Dark-eyed Junco

14 Northern Cardinal
45 House Finch
10 American Goldfinch
20 House Sparrow

An excellent birding effort - beats our 2009 number by one, and the 2010 number by several - but last year's search was hampered by two feet of snow on the ground!

2010 results here
2009 results here

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mid-December update

Immature Cooper's Hawk, Accipiter cooperi, perched just a few meters above our feeders one morning last week. photo: Lynn Jones

December is just not a normal month. There's the transition from late fall to winter, when those warmish days are just fewer and farther between, and we resign ourselves to the fact of cold weather.
We have ways to deal with this.

If you're connected to students and the academic world in any way, there are end-of-semester issues. Grades and evaluations are due, plans are sketched out for second semester, last-minute challenges are par for the course.
We have ways to deal with this too.

And then there's the craziness of the "holiday season". THIS is self-inflicted, I mean the craziness part. The holidays, well they've all been around longer than we have, but what have we done to make them so crazy?
We have ways to deal with this too - GO BIRDING!!!!

It's time for the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count, so tomorrow instead of joining the shopping craziness we birders will be out driving and walking our "territories" in search of every last chickadee, gull and wandering warbler we can find.

New squirrel baffle for one of our feeders - provided by Tony - the other two feeders are there in the background - one for sunflower seeds and the other for thistle seeds, which the finches are supposed to prefer.

West Campus bird list for the past two weeks, December 5-9 and 12-16, 2011:

Wild Turkey
Herring Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Red-tailed Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Mourning Dove
Rock Pigeon
Downy Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
10. Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
American Robin
European Starling
Northern Mockingbird
Black-capped Chickadee
Northern Cardinal
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
20. Dark-eyed Junco
House Finch
American Goldfinch

Twenty two species for the middle of December - probably just about what you'd expect.

Next week, Lynn and I will report on our West Campus Christmas Bird Count.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sue and Lynn - West Campus birders - with camera trap.

The segue from November to December this week brought a few cold nights, but warm daytime temperatures linger still. Our sparrow population is down, but a good variety of thicket-haunting birds was around this week.

Ruby-crowned and
Golden-crowned Kinglets

Carolina and
House Wrens

Northern Mockingbirds and
Gray Catbirds

Dark-eyed Juncos and a
White-throated Sparrow

Blue Jays and
American Crows

House Finches and
American Goldfinches

Mourning Doves and
Rock Pigeons

Downy Woodpeckers and
Red-bellied Woodpeckers

Lynn keeps the courtyard fee
ders full.

Black-capped Chickadees and a
Northern Cardinal

American Robins and
European Starlings

Ring-billed and
Herring Gulls

Wild Turkey flock browsing? grazing? one morning this week.

Wild Turkey flocks
Canada Goose flocks, and a
Red-tailed Hawk
and always a few
House Sparrows

Twenty six species for the week - again, a week in which we didn't get outside much during the workday, but saw our good skulkers before work in the mornings.