Monday, January 23, 2012

January 2012

We've been birding and blogging at West Campus for two and a half years now, compiling quite a list of bird species, and documenting seasonal changes in the process. Occasionally we submit a list to e-bird, a website developed by Cornell University for the purpose of collecting and sharing data on bird sightings. (see end of blog post)

Usually when we contribute a list to e-bird it's because we've either seen something "good" that we want to share, or because we've done a thorough survey, such as the Christmas Count or a hawk watch. Advocates of e-bird would like us birders to get in the habit of submitting ALL of our birding efforts, to better document year-round bird activity in our favored "hot-spots".

Although we understand the reasons, we don't necessarily always have the time. Ultimately e-bird is happy to get whatever data we citizen scientists are willing to volunteer. As an end-user of e-bird data I certainly appreciate a plethora of birding reports. For example, over the semester break I was birding in Florida, and was able to check the reports of other e-birders to plan my stops.

I checked for species, such as the Florida Scrub-Jay (Florida's only endemic bird), and the Red-cockaded Woodpecker (a vulnerable species). Searches can also be made by specific location, such as Sanibel Island or the Anhinga Trail within Everglades National Park. Ultimately, e-bird is just one of many tools a birder can use to find good places to go birding.

We finally have some snow cover, and look what shows up...

I haven't posted our list here on the blog in over a month - feeder activity has been s-l-o-w, but I'll list the birds we've seen since the start of the new year. Many of these birds are using our assorted feeding stations, placed in the courtyard where we can observe. I'll just write "feeder" after these species.

West Campus bird list for the first three weeks of 2012:

1. Wild Turkey - feeder
Canada Goose
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
5. Merlin
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Mourning Dove - feeder
Rock Pigeon
10. Downy Woodpecker - feeder
Red-bellied Woodpecker - feeder
Blue Jay - feeder
American Crow
European Starling
15. Black-capped Chickadee - feeder
Carolina Wren
American Robin
Northern Cardinal - feeder
Dark-eyed Junco - feeder
20. Song Sparrow - feeder
White-throated Sparrow - feeder
Fox Sparrow - feeder
American Goldfinch
House Finch - feeder
25. House Sparrow - feeder

Here's a link to e-bird. You'll see there's a lot to explore, and Cornell continues to improve the user interface as well as the data-generating possibilities.

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