Great Backyard Bird Count

By: Joe Sebastiani, Members Program Team Leader

As the program participants entered Ashland Nature Center yesterday, the smell of cooking bacon, scrapple, eggs, and pancakes was pleasantly overwhelming.  A fire roared in the auditorium and the tables were set for our pre-birding feast.  We were preparing to visit the Burrows Run Preserve to contribute sightings for the annual Great Backyard Bird Count.  The big breakfast was a fun way to prepare to be outside for the morning, hiking the hills of the preserve in search of birds. 

With six Delaware Nature Society members and a hand-full of staff, we hiked the preserve and identified species as we went.  Interns were placed in charge of counting Canada Geese in the flocks overhead.  Songbirds were in short-supply for the most part, but we found a few good pockets of them, including 38 Purple Finch in one flock.

Counting birds at the Delaware Nature Society's Burrows Run Preserve for the Great Backyard Bird Count.  Photo by Derek Stoner.
Counting birds at the Delaware Nature Society's Burrows Run Preserve for the Great Backyard Bird Count. Photo by Derek Stoner.

As the morning progressed, we found some nice surprises and had a fulfilling walk.  At one point, we split up, and Derek Stoner and Judy Montgomery’s group found 2 Red-breasted Nuthatches, which are somewhat rare this winter.  As the wind picked up, we ended the walk having found some of the common winter species of the preserve as well as a some unexpected ones.  Contributing to this nationwide count is always fun, however and is a great way to get outside in what I consider the most boring month of the year.  Am I right?  No football, no baseball, and I am getting tired of winter!

Red-breasted Nuthatch at Burrows Run Preserve.  Usually in the trees, this bird was photographed feeding on the ground.  Photo by Derek Stoner.
Red-breasted Nuthatch at Burrows Run Preserve. Usually found in coniferous trees, this bird was photographed feeding on the ground. Photo by Derek Stoner.
This morning, I tried my luck birding at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve near Kennett Square, PA.  Since the Great Backyard Bird Count takes place February 13 to 16 this year, I thought I would add another checklist.  My walk produced 42 species of birds including some nice raptors like an adult Red-shouldered Hawk, a male American Kestrel, and a male Northern Harrier.  Below are a few photos of some of my other finds.
This photo isn't great, but I have never seen a Pileated Woodpecker on top of a telephone pole before.  His head looks like it is on fire!  Photo by: Joe Sebastiani
This photo isn't great, but I have never seen a Pileated Woodpecker on top of a telephone pole before. Its head looks like it's on fire! Photo by: Joe Sebastiani

 

Pine Siskins have been at my feeders all winter and a dozen showed up for my count this morning.  Photo by: Joe Sebastiani
Pine Siskins have been at my feeders all winter and a dozen showed up for my count this morning. Photo by: Joe Sebastiani
At the end of my walk at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve, I found an Eastern Screech-owl poking peering out of a nest box.  Photo by: Joe Sebastiani
At the end of my walk at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve, I found an Eastern Screech-owl peering out of a nest box. Photo by: Joe Sebastiani
If you have time between now and the end of the day Monday, get out and see what birds are in your backyard or local park and enter them into the Great Backyard Bird Count website.  If you have already gone out, did you see anything interesting?

Leave a Reply