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The Great Back Yard Bird Count

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  • #21
    Oooooh - just scored two Pine Siskins decimating the tiny cones in my Hemlock trees. And they were so accommodating - came down within just 4-5 feet of me; didn't even need my binoculars!

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    • Original Poster

      #22
      Lucky, Bacardi1! I don't see those at my feeders. I just scored a red fox under the feeder, but, of course, I can't count it. Rumors are that, for the weekly feeder watch, they're going to initiate a critter watch, too. It's, apparently, a couple of years out yet, but, I can't wait!
      If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
      Desmond Tutu

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      • #23
        I've never seen them at my feeders either. It was purely luck that I was coming back from filling the water troughs & walked past our stand of Hemlocks. They were right in plain sight, tearing away at every little cone within reach. So cute!

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        • #24
          Louise - do they ever do a count like this in the Spring or Summer? I'd sure have a lot more variety in species to report, plus the weather is nicer for spending outdoors.

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          • Original Poster

            #25
            You know, Bacardi1, I've often wondered why they don't? Even FeederWatch ends somewhere around April. I keep my feeders going all year and, like you, I have a lot of different birds I could report on. I wish they did.
            If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
            Desmond Tutu

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            • #26
              I keep my feeders filled year-round as well. There's nothing like watching Cardinals & Titmice bring their shoe-button-eyed youngsters to the feeders right after they've fledged. Too cute!

              Also, of course, I have my hummingbird feeders up then, & for this coming season I have an Oriole feeder I'll be putting out that holds orange halves & grape jelly.

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              • #27
                There are bird counts during the summer - but I don't think they're organized by Audubon.

                I participate in QMAP, and work with VDGIF on quail and woodcock habitat restoration. I will conduct surveys in June.

                Believe it or not I whistle for bobwhite, and they whistle back.

                I'm not sure if such programs exist up your way, Louise. If these species are not found in your area, there may be similar programs for other species under threat. You might want to check out your game dept or similar gov't site to see.

                Here is a link for QMAP - it is a purely voluntary program and it does not restrict the use of your land at all. http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/quail/ And http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/quail/qmap.asp
                Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                -Rudyard Kipling

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                • #28
                  When we first moved here back in 1997, we had dozens & dozens of Bobwhite Quail. They were a daily occurrence. Then they simply disappeared. Haven't seen or even heard one in quite a few years now. But as for Woodcock - they're still calling our place home. We frequently hear & see them (such funny-looking little birds!). In fact, according to my "seasonal firsts" list, this coming week is the time when we usually first start hearing them buzz-beeping out in the fields.

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                  • #29
                    Woodcock and Bobwhite share the same habitat, so if you do have Woodcock you're doing something right on your land.

                    You may want to look into QMAP - VDGIF is actively soliciting landowners to participate. They'll send you some materials, come out for a site visit if you ask, you'll get notices of free or low cost seed to establish food plots.

                    When I was a kid, Bobwhite were everywhere. When we went trail riding we'd flush coveys of them - great bombproofing training for horses!

                    Now, at least in this part of VA - the fields are pretty silent. I was very interested in conducting a release but evidently those are not very successful. But I do whistle for them and they do whistle back - they are here. Just no where near the numbers they should be. It's a terrible shame.

                    The best thing you can do for wildlife is get rid of fescue. It's a never ending battle on my land; I have tried to seed native grasses that are also good for livestock. That seed is very expensive, though.

                    Check out QMAP and see if it's something that could work for you. You never know - you might have tremendous success.
                    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                    -Rudyard Kipling

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                    • #30
                      It would help if more people would get rid of their sterile lawns and plant more bushes and native plants for the birds to live in.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        I get more variety in winter because some species have moved south (unless you count grossbeaks.)

                        As usual, a bunch of birds aren't showing because I'm counting. But even though I wasnt' birdwatching I'm counting the Great Horned who was calling last night. They're staking out territories again, but I'm only counting one was I can't be sure I heard two or if one just moved.
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                        • #32
                          Yes - I heard a Barred Owl calling last week. And the Mourning Doves, Robins, & Crows are starting to pair up. Spring ain't far behind. But you wouldn't know it from the temps here today. It's terribly windy, hasn't gotten out of the 20's (27 at the moment), & the wind chill is supposed to be around 14. Brrrrr.

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                          • Original Poster

                            #33
                            I'm getting lucky. Today is one of my Feeder Watch days and, for a change, it's bitterly cold (hasn't made it out of the teens today) and we're getting lake effect snow. That means that the birds are flocking to the feeders. I'll use my feeder watch count on the Great Bird count site also. So far, nothing unusual, just large numbers of everything I usually get.
                            If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
                            Desmond Tutu

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                            • #34
                              The only newcomers I had today (so far) were two male Red-winged Blackbirds. Another counter in my area, who's closer to water & the marshy areas that they love, had 175 of them on his list (obviously a returning flock), so they must be back for the season.

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                              • Original Poster

                                #35
                                Yeh, I just got a visit I could have done without -- five starlings.
                                If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
                                Desmond Tutu

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                                • #36
                                  Oddly enough, while we sometimes have Starlings working the lawn, that's pretty much it. They never come to the feeders or bother with the bird boxes. We used to have a few that would commandeer an old Martin house on the property, but when a tornado took the top off of that 2 years ago, they seem to have left for good. Frankly, I kind of miss them a little.

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                                  • #37
                                    I was driving home from Basseting and saw a Bald Eagle in a pasture. I think that ends the weekend on a pretty good note!
                                    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                    -Rudyard Kipling

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