Tuesday, February 24, 2009

my un-big day

Usually when birders post their bird lists, it is to boast about seeing 7,000 species in three hours or whatever. Which is all well and good for them, but it can leave the rest of us feeling a little inadequate, like whatever birds we might have seen aren't as "important" because they're common or were only seen in small numbers. (But then, I'm not really much of a lister, and I'm certainly not the kind of birder who's going to go racing through the terrain just to check another bird off the list; I'd rather enjoy the hike.)

So I am posting my lists from the Great Backyard Bird Count last week, even though my lists are very short and fairly paltry. I counted in the yard twice, and this is my Friday morning list:

  • 6 Rock Pigeons
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 American Crow
  • 4 Black-capped Chickadees
  • 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch

And this is my Monday morning list:

  • 8 Rock Pigeons
  • 2 Downy Woodpeckers
  • 1 American Crow
  • 3 Black-capped Chickadees
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 3 Dark-eyed Juncos
  • 6 Common Redpolls

I also went out to the bus stop early on Friday so that I could do a quick count there:

  • 1 Merlin
  • 2 Rock Pigeons
  • 1 American Crow
  • 2 Black-capped Chickadees

I was all excited that my redpolls came by for the count, since this is the first time I've had them in the yard at this apartment. Must be a good year for redpolls, though--as of right now there were 18,768 counted in Minnesota (the highest number by far for any bird in the state; second place goes to Mallards with 7,222). However, my three juncos account for more than a quarter of all the juncos seen in Duluth, and not only is my Merlin the only one for Duluth (or at least it will be, once the data goes through) but so far there is only one other one listed for the entire state. So I am very glad that I went out to the bus stop early for that little half hour count. Every bird matters when it comes to citizen science, and even tiny numbers are important.

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