Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

GBBC wrap-up

This year's Great Backyard Bird Count is history, but we will have to wait until after March 1 for all the data reports to be finalized. Participants can still report their counts up until that date, so until then we won't know whether this will be another record-breaking year for the popular mid-winter bird survey.

If I had to guess, I would say that this probably will not be a record-breaker. The severe weather in many places probably limited some counters' efforts, so we may fall a little short of the record of 634 species that were reported in the 2008 count.

As for my own personal count, I ended the weekend with a total of 28 species, not a record-breaking year for me, either. There were several species that are regularly seen in my yard that did not show up during the weekend - birds like the little Ruby-crowned Kinglet and the Eastern Bluebird. I didn't even see a Black Vulture or a Red-tailed Hawk flying over my yard, even though in the usual course of events, I see them almost every day. Neither did the big Pileated Woodpecker or the little Brown-headed Nuthatch put in an appearance.

I was pleased to encounter one unusual bird, the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Although these birds visit our area in winter, I almost never find one in my yard, so seeing one here was a great treat for me.

I always enjoy consulting the top ten lists on the results page of the GBBC website and this year is no exception:

Most Frequently Reported Birds
Rank Species Checklists
1 Northern Cardinal 43,160
2 Dark-eyed Junco 39,415
3 Mourning Dove 36,884
4 Downy Woodpecker 32,141
5 Blue Jay 31,831
6 American Goldfinch 30,994
7 Tufted Titmouse 29,393
8 House Finch 26,847
9 American Crow 24,808
10 Black-capped Chickadee 24,086
Statistics updated 17-Feb-2010 18:05 ET

Most Numerous Birds
Rank Species Individuals
1 American Robin 1,783,686
2 Canada Goose 574,979
3 American Crow 422,279
4 European Starling 420,545
5 Snow Goose 368,170
6 American Goldfinch 343,885
7 Common Grackle 329,365
8 Dark-eyed Junco 301,610
9 Red-winged Blackbird 244,892
10 Mourning Dove 229,709
Statistics updated 17-Feb-2010 18:05 ET

When the final count is in, some of these rankings and numbers may change, but there is unlikely to be any great upheaval in the standings. For a look at all the various "top ten" lists, click here.

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