Monday, February 16, 2009

GBBC Day 3

Yesterday I continued birding around my town to see if I could find any additional species for the Great Backyard Bird Count. The feeders at home had mostly the same species as the past two days, with the highlight being a trio of Pine Siskins on the thistle feeder in the morning.

In the early afternoon I walked around the local park to see what was there. I saw very few Canada Geese, but the local Mallards were still around, including one very manky-looking one that must have some domesticated ancestry. As I was combing through a large flock of House Finches and I happened to look up and saw two very high adult Red-tailed Hawks, both with the wings set and heading due NW. They passed over so high and so quickly that I have to think that these were migrants rather than a local pair. For the rest of my walk, I scoured up some more passerines – nothing unusual, just the standard local ones. The very last species of the walk was a Peregrine Falcon, presumably the local one that hangs out at the bridge.

In the evening, I took a stroll around my neighborhood to see if I could hear any owls, especially the local Great Horned pair. Owls tend to be undercounted on citizen science surveys; this year in New Jersey, Eastern Screech Owl appears on only four checklists and Great Horned Owl on only seven, with one Long-eared and one Short-eared. There must be more findable owls than that in the state. Unfortunately last night I heard no owls along my walking route.

If you have time today, watch some birds and submit a checklist – especially if you have not yet submitted one for this year's count. It's easy, and a great excuse to do some birding for a good cause.