Whether formal or informal, backyard bird count can be enjoyable

The Island PacketFebruary 13, 2014 

Untamed Lowcounty Gallery: Backyard birds One of my favorite places to go birdwatching? My kitchen. And as the Great Backyard Birdcount begins, here are some photos taken from the comfort of home. View Full Gallery J

JEFF KIDD

The Lowcountry is full of great spots to view wildlife, but one of my favorite places to bird-watch is my dining room table.

My wife has placed just outside the windows all sorts of feeders and a birdbath with a water-mister attachment. So while sipping morning coffee or working on an adjacent countertop with a view of the window, I can sit in comfort and watch many varieties of birds chow down.

In recent years, the set up has expanded around the house, so that there are now feeders visible through most of the windows we pass each day and a birdhouse with a transparent back attached by suction cups to one of our panes.

I'm sure lots of Untamed Lowcountry readers who have similar -- or more elaborate -- set-ups.

Given the great pleasure we both take from monitoring the visitors to our yard, it is ironic that we're planning a trip Saturday to bird-watch at Fort Pulaski Monument and Tybee Island -- right in the middle of the Great Backyard Bird Count.

The event, launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, starts Friday and runs through Monday, Feb. 17. It is touted as the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.

We'll probably find a few minutes to participate at some point this weekend. I love to count and catalogue, after all. (To the point that it's sort of a mental defect of mine, I think.)

In fact, my wife and I started something new this year -- recording the different species we see in our yard this year. If we spot something new, it gets jotted down on a notepad, along with the date.

We're up to 25 in six weeks.

Of course, if we were really meticulous about it, we'd do a more formal journal and count individual numbers, not just species, but for right now, that seems more like turning a hobby into a job (which ... ahem ... is another of my mental defects.)

Anyway, I thought I'd share with readers a gallery of photos I've taken of birds in my backyard (or, in one instance, while standing in my backyard and focusing on a tree two doors down,) along with our running list of species for 2014.

If anyone else would like to share similar tallies, please place them in the comments, along with a general description of where you live. I suspect many readers would love to see the range and variations of species over a relatively small geographic area. Also, feel free to email to me photos from your backyard if you'd like to have them published in an upcoming Untamed Lowcountry gallery. (You must own rights to the photos you submit and agree to allow us to publish them.)

And if you have the time and interest, don't forget the Backyard Bird County this weekend. Instructions on participation are available at the link above.

Jan. 3

tufted titmouse

downy woodpecker

ruby-crowned kinglet

Carolina chickadee

chipping sparrow

yellow-bellied sapsucker

northern cardinal

pine warbler

yellow-throated warbler

white-breasted nuthatch

house finch

mourning dove

Carolina wren

eastern bluebird

eastern phoebe

Jan. 11

white-throated sparrow

American goldfinch

yellow-rumped warbler

Jan. 12

brown-headed nuthatch

blue jay

Jan. 18

red-bellied woodpecker

Jan. 20

hermit thrush

Jan. 28

eastern towhee

Jan. 31

black and white warbler

Feb. 5

dark-eyed junco

Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/2014/02/13/2946204/whether-formal-or-informal-backyard.html#storylink=cpy

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