Report: 2019 Great Backyard Bird Count 2-25-19

February 25, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

We saw a good number of species each day on the weekend for the Great Backyard Bird Count with 27 species overall. The most uncommon birds seen were the Rusty Blackbirds. They were here every day of the count which began on Friday, 2-15-19 and ended Monday, 2-18-19. There were nine on Friday when we had 2 inches of snow. Two visited the bubbler, looking for food and a drink.

 

Rusty Blackbirds 2-15-19 GBBCRusty Blackbirds 2-15-19 GBBCSix of nine Rusty Blackbirds seen 2/15/2019 Rusty Blackbirds 2-15-19 GBBCRusty Blackbirds 2-15-19 GBBCThree Rusty Blackbirds in snow in our garden bed.

Rusty Blackbirds 2-15-19 GBBCRusty Blackbirds 2-15-19 GBBCTwo Rusty Blackbirds in our bubbler basin

 

Pine Siskins were also present with anywhere from 4-9 counted each day. We are still seeing 6-8 daily. They rest in the dogwoods while waiting their turn at the feeders, fountain or bubbler. They do get into scuffles with the American Goldfinches, which makes it challenging to get an accurate count!

 

Pine Siskin 2-16-19-1142 GBBCPine Siskin 2-16-19-1142 GBBCPine Siskin on Rough-leaf Dogwood branch Pine Siskins and American Goldfinches 2-17-19 GBBCPine Siskins and American Goldfinches 2-17-19 GBBC Pine Siskin 2-18-19 GBBCPine Siskin 2-18-19 GBBC

 

Another favorite this winter has been the Red-breasted Nuthatch, which did come in on two days of the count.

 

Red-breasted Nuthatch 2-17-19 GBBCRed-breasted Nuthatch 2-17-19 GBBC

 

The Red-shouldered Hawks have been around every day. The other birds are not really bothered by their presence. I have only seen the hawks take mammals like voles, small opossum, even a squirrel. They also take large earthworms. That is until Monday, when the female Red-shouldered Hawk took off from a high perch and picked off a House Finch who was waiting on an open branch for a turn at the feeder. It was a quick meal for the hawk, who needs to eat just like all the rest. 

 

2-18-19-1550 Red-shouldered Hawk House Finch prey2-18-19-1550 Red-shouldered Hawk House Finch preyRed-shouldered Hawk in our woodland captured a female House Finch as a meal.

 

The number of Northern Cardinals ratcheted up following the snowstorm and by Monday, we counted 14 males alone! Usually, only one male is at a feeder at a time, so they spend time waiting in cover, like the Spicebush or the Golden Currant, which is very twiggy. There are many good native shrubs to have near feeders which help protect birds from predators.

 

House Finch and Northern Cardinal 2-15-19 GBBCHouse Finch and Northern Cardinal 2-15-19 GBBC Northern Cardinal 2-15-19 GBBCNorthern Cardinal 2-15-19 GBBC Northern Cardinal resting in Golden Currant 2-18-19 GBBCNorthern Cardinal resting in Golden Currant 2-18-19 GBBC

 

Since the count, we've seen the Red-shouldered Hawks nest-building and mating. American Goldfinches are molting into their bright spring plumage. We have gained an hour and thirty-nine minutes of daylight since December! Can spring be far behind? 

To see all the photos since the last post, begin here: GBBC thru 2-24-19

 

 

American Goldfinch molting into spring plumage 2-23-19American Goldfinch molting into spring plumage 2-23-19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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