Field Notes – Great Backyard Bird Count

February 13, 2015 7:08 am
Clear and Calm, 35 Degrees

Photo Credit:  P. Nixon

Photo Credit: P. Nixon

Sunrise and I are not well acquainted, but nevertheless, I set my alarm for that early hour on Friday morning.  In the Audubon presentation about bird watching last week, Cheryl advised that the best way to see birds was to follow their habits.  I had my doubts, but dragged myself out of bed to find two cats thrilled that, for once, they would get an early breakfast.

I do most of my birdwatching from my desk, but in the spirit of the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) set up a lawn chair outside, a distance from the feeder and bird bath.  Notebook, field guide, binoculars, steaming cup of hot chocolate—I settled in. My first sighting was my favorite.  The canyon towhee, perky and cheery with his rusty crown, discovered the sprinkle of millet I had put out for him the night before.  He did his little hop, scratch, and bob dance in the dirt up until a spotted towhee shooed him away.

The morning quiet was broken when a western scrub jay registered my presence, swooping in low and squawking loudly as he landed on a nearby piñon tree.  Overhead ravens, or were they crows, glided by.  Unable to tell for sure I left them off my official list.

Thirty-five minutes later I had noted only four species, six birds (the jay had friends).  I doubt that my entry does much for the cause of science, but it was a lovely way to start the day.

Note:  There’s still time to participate in the GBBC.  It runs through Monday, February 16th.  They have apps for cell phones, but I had trouble with the Android version.  I found it much easier to register and submit my count from the website using my computer.  Don’t worry if you can’t identify every bird—I had two at the feeder  that I could not positively identify and left them off my list.


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