This was my first year participating in the GBBC. It really is different from just watching birds out the window. You have to count the maximum number of a species seen at one time, which is really hard with flitty little buggers like chickadees. I also learned after two days not to enter my data until after dark, or sure as starlings that flock of 30 redpolls will show up as soon as I press ‘Send’.
On the first day, I walked around the yard and gave a tally for one hour of watching over a period of six hours. The other three days I did the 15 minute timed watch of the feeders. My totals across the 4 days of the watch (max at one time for each, remember):
Red-tailed Hawk: 1, American Crow: 30 (harassing the hawk), Northern Flicker: 1, Red-bellied Woodpecker: 2, Black-capped Chickadee: 20, House Finch: 6 (one female looked to have conjunctivitis), Tufted Titmouse: 5, Dark-eyed Junco: 15, Northern Cardinal: 3, American Goldfinch: 2 (that was low), Hairy Woodpecker: 1, Downy Woodpecker: 3, Red-breasted Nuthatch: 3, White-breasted Nuthatch: 1, Mourning Dove: 7, European Starling: 10, Common Redpoll: 1 (and the hordes swept in as soon as I hit ‘Send’), Blue Jay: 4, American Robin: 1 (foraging where the ground was clear under the pines), Carolina Wren: 1 (my little friend who’s been here all winter), Tree Sparrow: 1, Song Sparrow: 1.
Here are the results so far for my town, West Sand Lake. I saw 22 of the 24 species observed, and I was the only lister for six — Red-tail, Flicker, Robin, Redpoll, and the two Sparrows. Not bad for the northland in winter! Of course, then you look at records from places like Corpus Cristi, TX with 193 species, five of them Hummingbirds, and I really want to take a roadtrip. Until that’s possible, I’ll keep the feeders full and enjoy my visitors bringing life and movement to the whitened world.
Yes, even you, starlings.