Wednesday, March 11, 2015

2015 Backyard Big Year--February Update

Squirrels and birds at sparrow slick during snowy February
There was just one word for Backyard Big Year birding in February--COLD!  OK, two words--cold and slow.  Very few days got above freezing, and the ground was snow covered the entire month.  Out of 25 days birding in the yard, I was only able to see 40 species, and get only 2 new birds for the year--Common Grackle and Brown Creeper.  Brown Creeper was great to see, as it was actually a new yard bird for me and the last of what I consider to be Code 2 birds (ones that are expected but may take effort) for me to see in my yard.

On the photo big year front, I was able to add photos of Common Grackle, American Tree Sparrow, and Pine Siskin--taking that total to 37 species photographed so far.

For the audio big year, I added recordings of American Robin, Northern Cardinal, Song Sparrow, Brown Creeper, and Hairy Woodpecker--bringing that total up to 26 species.

With most water in the county frozen, there weren't many gulls or waterfowl moving that I could see from my yard, and even goose flocks were mostly elsewhere.  Most action was at my feeders, or the sparrow slick I maintained excavated and seeded by my compost bin.  In the afternoons, I would look for soaring Red-tailed Hawks and vultures, and it was fun to have a few Cooper's Hawks buzz the yard--here's a recording of the birds going crazy and taking off as one attacked!


  1. Rob, you are pretty dedicated and that is a fine list, considering how cold February was! Still seeing 40 species was pretty good. I only saw 28 species in my yard in Maine during that time. The bay behind my house is still frozen, but I have high hopes it will thaw soon and I will be seeing ducks again! I'm glad you got your Brown creeper and your grackle. Let's hope this is an active spring for both of us as migration begins soon!

  2. March has already turned nicer, and just in time. I thought February was going to kill me! Now if I can just find some waterfowl as they move through the area. Hard to see ducks when they aren't just sitting on water! Here's hoping you have a great March Kathie :-)

  3. Considering the weather it seems you did quite well! The Brown Creeper is special any time of the year! I can't actually to relate to birding in the snow but your sightings certainly sound impressive!