Friday, February 12, 2010

Great Backyard Bird Count

Today was the first day of the Great Backyard Bird Count. This is my favorite count (although I think I say that about every bird count.) Rules are simple: count for 15 minutes or more, any or all of the four days of the count, anywhere you want. Report the most of each species you see at any one time. I do this while milking goats and mucking out the horse barn. Some people do it while looking out their window.

Since I feed the birds grain in front of the goat barn every morning, they are accustomed to showing up about 9 a.m. This morning they cooperated nicely.  Snacking away were California Quail, Spotted Towhees, Scrub Jays, Steller Jays, Golden-crowned Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, and Dark-eyed Juncos (Oregon variety plus one Slate-colored). I took a break from chores to snap photos. Pictured are a handsome Spotted Towhee, a male California Quail on the run, a Golden-crowned Sparrow with his mouth full, and that photogenic White-throated Sparrow that was also pictured in an earlier blog.

Anyone can participate in this fun count and there are prizes! Go to the website and check it out.:  This is a great count for kids. (Ingrid, are you listening?)


  1. Yes, I would totally count. I got a nice e-mail telling me all about it and I figured out where I would go and then realized... I don't know what birds I am looking at. We have a lot of finchy looking things here but they are all sort of subtly different. I just don't know my birds, although I do like them a lot. And the kids are no better (of course). So unless they want "3 grey-ish ones" and "25 brown ones", we had better hold off on the Great American Backyard Bird count.

  2. Now, Ingrid. Must I buy you a bird identification book? This is not rocket science. You are a bright woman. I recommend Harry Nehls very inexpensive little book, Familiar Birds of the Northwest, that you can probably get at any bookstore or feed store. In the spring, there are morning bird walks in Portland where you and your kids can learn what local birds look and sound like. I'll send you info when they start up again. Bird on!

  3. Went to the audubon society and got a bird book as well as a "Common Bids of Portland" plastic tri-fold thing to put in the window near the bird feeder. Kids like it! They eagerly looked up a common robin while I bit my tongue... because I knew THAT one!

  4. Hooray! Your kids will be identifying birds for you in no time. :-) Ask at the Audubon Society for information on bird walks. I haven't seen anything yet but they should be some coming up soon.