For the Birds: Get out and count – for the birds

Photo by Chris Bosak An American Robin perches on a rock at Weed Beach in Darien, Conn., in Jan. 2015.
Photo by Chris Bosak
An American Robin perches on a rock at Weed Beach in Darien, Conn., in Jan. 2015. Flocks of robins often show up during winter bird counts

I am guilty. I admit it.

Even though I have preached in this column before about the importance of participating in citizen science studies and turning in results, whether those results are good or bad, I often do not submit my “bad walks.”

Take eBird, for example.

Even though it would valuable to report all of my walks to this online bird database, I often submit only results for the walks that yield unique or plentiful species. I saw only two chickadees and a turkey vulture flyover, I say to myself. How is that data going to be valuable?

In reality, that data is just as valuable as the results I turn in when the birding is good. Scientists who track this data need to know what’s going on out there at all times, not just when a lot of birds are around.

Is there a problem brewing with a certain species? Biologists will never know Continue reading

More Brown Creeper photos from #GBBC

Photo by Chris Bosak A Brown Creeper finds food at the base of a tree during a cold snap in February 2016, Danbury, Connecticut.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Brown Creeper finds food at the base of a tree during a cold snap in February 2016, Danbury, Connecticut.

Here are some more shots of the Brown Creeper that visited my yard during the cold snap experienced in New England over the weekend. With temperatures at or even below zero for much of the weekend, it wasn’t easy snapping photos of birds in the yard, but the thrill of seeing these energetic, albeit rather nondescript, birds made me forget about the cold for the time being.

Brown Creepers may not be much to look at with their small size and white and brown coloring, they are a thrill to see nonetheless. They are rather common in New England, but it’s not a bird you see every day, or in great n Continue reading

Brown Creeper and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker pay a visit

Photo by Chris Bosak Brown Creeper at base of tree.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Brown Creeper at base of tree.

At one point today a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was on the suet feeder and a Brown Creeper crept along the base of an adjacent tree. Neither are earth-shattering sightings, but both are rather unusual in my part of New England at Merganser Lake. In fact, it was the first time I had ever seen a sapsucker at one of my feeders. I even managed to get a decent photograph of the Brown Creeper, a species that can be tricky to shoot.

The photos accompanying this post, admittedly, don’t look that great. They are merely photos I took with my iPhone of the display screen of my camera. When I have more time I’ll get to a computer and download the photos, but for now the mediocre iPhone will have to do. Thanks for your patience. I wanted to post this as soon as possible as this is Great Backyard Bird Count weekend. It runs through Monday, so maybe this posting will inspire others to participate. For more information, click here.

Photo by Chris Bosak Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on suet feeder.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on suet feeder.

Release: Great Backyard Bird Count sets new species record

GBBC2014

Here’s a press release from the Great Backyard Bird Count folks: All text and photos below the dotted line are directly from the release.

I love the charts they compile following this count. Great photos included, too.

Here’s my post directly following the GBBC.

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New York, NY, Ithaca, NY, and Port Rowan, ON–Participants from more than 100 countries submitted a record 147, 265 bird checklists for the annual Great Backyard Bird Count and broke the previous count record for the number of species identified. The 5,090 species reported represents nearly half the possible bird species in the world. The four-day count was held February 13-16, the 18th year for the event which is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada.

The information gathered by tens of thousands of volunteers helps track the health of bird populations at a scale made possible by using the eBird online checklist program. A sampling of species found by intrepid counters include Ibisbill in India, Bornean Bistlehead in Malaysia, and  Continue reading

My GBBC highlights

Photo by Chris Bosak A female Bufflehead swims in Gorham's Pond, Nov. 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A female Bufflehead swims in Darien.

I hit Weed Beach this morning for the Great Backyard Bird Count. The woods were fairly quiet, but the water offered some good birds. Some of the highlights were about a dozen Black-capped Chickadees, some American Robins, a Northern Mockingbirds, several Red-breasted Mergansers, a few Gadwall, dozens of American Black Ducks, dozens of Bufflehead and a couple Common Goldeneye.

So what was on your list? Feel free to comment below.

More information is available here.