We did it! We participated in the 2014 Great Backyard Bird Count.
Here’s a little background:
Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. Since then, more than 100,000 people of all ages and walks of life have joined the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds. You can count from any location, anywhere in the world! If you’re new to the count, you simply register on-line at http://gbbc.birdcount.org and then you can fill in the checklist from the notes/counts you kept. In 2013, Great Backyard Bird Count participants in 111 countries counted 33,464,616 birds on 137,998 checklists, documenting 4,258 species—more than one-third of the world’s bird species!
It was our first time. We counted birds for one hour in our front garden on Monday, February 17 — Presidents Day. I whipped up a batch of scones, made a big pot of tea, and took a tray out to our front yard. Bill gathered up our binoculars. Natalie brought out a notepad and pen. I had my camera, so here are some photos:
Hmmm…. Is that a hawk?
Look at how it’s gliding! Oh, I see the red flash on its tail… Red-tailed hawk.
17 white-crowned sparrows (which we called “chirpies” until we figured out what they were):
I couldn’t help noticing this beautiful rose:
Here’s the data we entered on the website for the Great Backyard Bird Count: 1 mourning dove; 1 red-tailed hawk; 9 crows, 5 hummingbirds; 17 white crowned sparrows; 5 seagulls; 3 house finches; and Bill’s most eventful sighting: one black phoebe. We double-checked by looking up a few pictures on the internet before figuring out that the hummingbirds were Allen’s hummingbirds and that the seagulls were indeed California gulls.