Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mad Grackles and Kissing Finches–Counting Birds

 Have you been counting the birds? For those unaware, today is day #3 of the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). It only takes a minimum of 15 minutes to note what birds you’ve seen. Why not consider taking a little time to help count a few of the winter birds in your yard. Check out the above web address for details.

I spent a couple hours off-and-on yesterday hanging out on my back deck counting birds. The best part for me however was having my 6 year old daughter sitting beside me for the first half-hour or so with her own tally sheet writing down and observing the birds she saw. I helped her with most of the identifications, but other than that she did the rest.

Here’s her tally sheet….isn't it cute?

MPs List 

The GBBC even has a special website for kids that offers puzzles, coloring pages and more…

We enjoyed watching a variety of birds visit the backyard feeder as well as a few birds that were just passing through.

When I wasn’t watching, my Wingscape Birdcam was doing the job for me. I had it pointed at my platform feeder for most of the day. Below are a few of my favorites.

No shortage of American Goldfinches in my backyard this winter…



Here’s one of my favorite visitors – the Pine Warbler:


Here’s a Common Grackle. Doesn’t he look ticked off?? Maybe he doesn’t like his photo being taken while eating…?


My favorite of the day was the kissing House Finches below.


Their not really kissing. The male (right) is passing a seed to the female (left). A lot of bird do this during their courtship.

Okay, lets not be greedy!


The Birdcam is still set up so hopefully I’ll capture a few more interesting photos today!

If you get any interesting photos during this years Great Backyard Bird Count be sure to submit them to the website photo gallery. You may just have a winner -

So, what kind of birds have you been seeing in your backyard?

This post was submitted to this weeks edition of Bird Photography Weekly (#130). Be sure to stop by and check it out.


birdchick said...

Wow, with that tail, I'd call that a Great-tailed grackle.

Kiirsi said...

I saw your post via the GBBC Twitter feed on their website. Adorable checklist! Also, I love the birdcam pictures...thanks for posting!

Alan Pulley said...

Hey Birdchick! thanks for stopping in. I agree it does look a lot like a great-tailed grackle, but according to the range maps they don’t come this far east (SE Virginia). I know that doesn’t mean that one couldn’t venture over. I did check the state tallies for VA on the GBBC site and no one is reporting any great-tails. I've got some more photos of this grackle, I'll investigate further...

Thanks Kiirai for stopping by! Yes the Birdcam does catch some interesting photos at times.

mick said...

The birdcam takes great photos of your backyard birds. I like the idea of teaching your daughter to start watching and counting birds. It can be a life-long hobby.

Carol said...

I am forwarding that site to my grandchildren.I hope they get as interested as your daughter.

April Lorier said...

Oh, now THIS is a great father-daughter bonding moment!
I liked the finches, too, Alan.

Larry said...

I love this post Alan. It's great that your daughter was there counting with you. Love her tally sheet ;-)

Nice shots of the various birds and it looks like a beautiful day to sit out on the back porch and help with citizen science!

I will be posting today's (Monday) count from my yard too.

Jan said...

What a cute little tally sheet! I haven't yet posted my count but I didn't see many this weekend, compared with what I see on a daily basis! The most were seen today, but I didn't get to really keep track. We had a lot of high winds Saturday and that really kept them away! Your photo of the grackle is great...he looks evil!

gwen said...

Love the birdcam shots. Some great models there :)

Les said...

That's a grackle with attitude.

Dawn Fine said...

Oh my! What an awesome crazed photo of the Grackle. I love your daughters list! So great that you did this together. :)