Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Great Backyard Bird Count – Day 1

It’s time again for the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, which doesn’t actually have to be done in a backyard. I’ll be birding all four days and submitting this weekend’s Project FeederWatch counts to the GBBC as well.

Last year, I had this to say by way of explaining the GBBC:

The Audubon Society and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology are sponsoring The Great Backyard Bird Count running from today through Feb 16. Anyone can participate. All you have to do is count birds over a span of at least 15 minutes and record the number of individuals you see. This helps the Audubon Society “create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent.” You don’t even have to do it in your backyard.

Today, I started out by going down to the pond since I’ve got my pond trail big year going. It’s also where I birded on Day 1 of the GBBC last year. I’m happy to report that I was able to ID substantially more birds this year. I guess I am getting better at this. I even saw an Eastern Bluebird, which while not a new bird is a new one for this trail.

I also finally got a really good look at the Least Grebes in the pond. Turns out they’re actually Pied-billed Grebes, the crafty devils. I’ll need to go back and change my ebird data for the past few weeks, but the upside is that I get a new life bird.

Still, a fine list for an hour’s stroll:

  • Turkey Vulture (3)
  • Northern Mockingbird (2)
  • House Finch (4)
  • Eastern Bluebird (1)
  • White-winged Dove (4)
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker (2)
  • Gadwall (57)
  • Ring-necked Duck (41)
  • Pied-billed Grebe (3)
  • American Wigeon (2)
  • Black-crested Titmouse (2)
  • Chipping Sparrow (2)
  • Eastern Phoebe (1)
  • Mourning Dove (2)
  • Blue Jay (1)
  • American Crow (1)
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler (1)

No pictures today. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll bring the camera along on my GBBC adventures.


  1. A fine list, indeed! I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone’s counts. I have to get my stuff together and make my first “report”! Enjoy the rest of the count.

  2. That’s interesting about the grebe. One thing I like about eBird is how you can change your past sightings if you reconsider an old identification. Pied-billed Grebes are fun to watch. They have such good buoyancy control that they can sink straight down underwater like a submarine. Once I saw one swimming in Town Lake with just its head above water!

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