My Great Backyard Bird Count

The annual late winter count of birds is over. I spent a part of every day of the four-day weekend counting the birds in my own backyard. 

I did my count while working in the yard, so I can't say that I was entirely focused on birds. Still, the count was pretty successful, with a total of twenty-eight species turning out to be counted. Unfortunately, as always, there were some species that show up regularly in the yard but didn't make an appearance during the weekend and so don't appear on my census.

The first birds to appear on my count were, not surprisingly, the ever-present White-winged Doves.

And the last one, recorded late yesterday, was a particularly colorful Pine Warbler. Looks like he's about ready for spring.

In between, here's a list of everything that I saw in, around, or flying over my yard.

Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture 
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
White-winged Dove
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Wren
Carolina Chickadee
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
House Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

This is the eighteenth year that I've done this count and this species count is about average for most years, but the actual total of individual birds was fewer this year. I'm not sure what, if anything in particular, that means; it may just be the randomness of birds wandering or my lack of attention in doing the count. Time will tell. But it is always a revelation to me to see the number and variety of species that pass through my yard at any given period of time. It's a reminder, as if I needed one, that Nature is very much present as an actor in my garden and in my daily life.


  1. Great job, Dorothy! I doubt I could count so many specimens. I typically see house sparrows, crows and ravens (lots of them), and starlings. Starlings tend to be more visible during the warm months, while crows and ravens are seen in greater numbers towards the wintery months. The other day I saw a different bird in the hedge behind my house. It had the markings around the eyes like a cedar waxwing, but I couldn't be sure. In any case it was quite hidden among the branches and didn't show itself enough to allow me to photograph it, which was my intention at the time. :-) Wow, enough with my babbling! :-)

  2. Thank you for your report. It just made me feel good. Thanks to you I am much more aware of birds in my yard and in my life.

    1. Doing the count always makes me feel good. It's the smallest of contributions to the accumulated knowledge provided by citizen science projects, but it is something I can do.


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