Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Great Backyard Bird Count: Day 4 #GBBC

Yesterday was mostly gray with a bit of snow and rain. This seemed to make some birds stay under cover, and parts of the local parks became inaccessible due to flooding. On the upside, it brought a lot of birds to the feeders, so there was a steady stream of common birds to watch.

The birds that captured my attention the most were the Mourning Doves. A group of them alternated between perching out on a wire despite the unfavorable conditions and foraging under the bird feeders. Seeing them backlit on a wire against a gray sky emphasizes their shape: a small head and bill, a puffed up body (almost round on some of the birds), and a long, narrow tail. Even with barely any color, they were still recognizable as Mourning Doves.

This Mourning Dove was showing off its warm brown breast feathers and white-tipped tail feathers as it took shelter in the branches of a tree. The feature I found particularly intriguing was the white puff above its bill. It seems that the doves can fluff out those feathers in a way I had not previously noticed. Now matter how many times I have looked at a bird, there is always something new to see!

Yesterday was the last day to observe birds for the Great Backyard Bird Count, but you can continue to enter checklists from the weekend until March 1. So if you watched birds this weekend but have not entered them into the GBBC website yet, make sure you enter them this week!