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.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

National Bird-Feeding Month

 For those unaware, February is National Bird-Feeding month. During this month, individuals are encouraged to provide food, water and shelter for the birds. As many already know, February is also one of the toughest months for our wild birds, and that’s why this month was chosen.

National Bird-Feeding month was originally introduced in 1994 by congressman John Porter (R-IL). The goal is to provide food, water and shelter for the wild birds, and as a result, promote backyard bird feeding as an entertaining and educational experience for both children and adults.

Bird feeding also provides a much needed break from today's stressful lifestyles. Below is a Carolina Chickadee enjoying a suet snack.


Each year, a new theme for National Bird-Feeding Month is selected by the National Bird-Feeding Society (NBFS). The theme for 2011 is "Most Wanted - America's Top Ten Backyard Birds" and features ten species from the east and west that are among the most popular to attract.

Here are the top ten backyard birds east of the Rockies: American Goldfinch, Chickadee (Black-capped/Carolina), Dark-eyed Junco, Downy Woodpecker, House Finch, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Tufted Titmouse, and White-breasted Nuthatch. With the exception of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, who feed on nectar, the top ten birds eat bird seed.

Be sure to check out their site for more information. Throughout the month, NBFS will be providing tips and techniques to help create a successful bird feeding/watching experience.


Northern Mockingbird (above) 

Whatever your reason may be for feeding birds, attracting America’s ‘Most Wanted’ backyard birds to your yard will be an enjoyable experience, it’s a pastime that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

And don’t forget about the upcoming Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) coming up February 18 – 21. Anyone can participate, from beginning birdwatchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on any one day, or you can count birds for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun and easy – and it helps the birds to! For details check out the GBBC website -


It’s a great month to educate people about the hobby of  birdwatching and how much fun it is to feed the birds.

Have a great weekend and be sure to visit Birdfreak's Bird Photography Weekly (#129) to see more bird photos!