This weekend we participated in a bird-counting project, sponsored by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. It's an annual event called "Focus on the Feeders Weekend" - and I'm not sure how many years we've been doing it, but it's been a while now! According to the M.A.S., 40% of New England residents feed and closely watch wildlife ~ and I am happy to say we are part of that surprisingly high estimate!
The challenge is to record the greatest number and variety of birds that visit your feeders over the assigned weekend. You only need report the highest number of a species seen at one time, so it's not like we're counting each and every bird we spot all day.
So for example, we saw two juncos under the feeders early Saturday morning ... so we put two tally marks down on our count sheet. A later glance out the windows revealed eight juncos, so we added six more tally marks to our sheet. A bit later on we saw there were three juncos on the ground ... but we didn't mark anything down. Only if there were more than eight juncos would we add to our count. (And as you can see from our report, the juncos were greatest in number this weekend!)
So without further ado, here are the results from our bird counting efforts:
American Crow - 1
American Goldfinch - 3
American Robin - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 2
Blue Jay - 4
Carolina Wren - 2
Dark-eyed Junco - 24 (!)
Downy Woodpecker - 3
Hairy Woodpecker - 1
House (English) Sparrow - 1
Mourning Dove - 2
Northern Cardinal - 2
Tufted Titmouse - 2
White-Breasted Nuthatch - 2
White-throated Sparrow - 6
(Now, the MAS does not ask for any squirrel reporting, but you know I can't help myself.)
Gray squirrel - 2
Red Squirrel - 1
The Focus on Feeders project also includes a photo contest for amateur photographers. I've never done this before, but I might send a picture in this year. The ones I took today came out a little blurry but I have some on file that I might consider submitting.
The FoF report form also asks for the following information:
How many bird feeders do you have? 12
How many months of the year do you feed birds? 12
What type of feed do you use? Black oil sunflower seed, cracked corn, suet, seed cakes
This was such a fun family project - perfect for a cold winter weekend! How are your birdfeeders doing this winter? Are they active or quieter than usual? Are you seeing mostly familiar faces or have you been surprised by a new or unusual sighting?
Well, whether you were counting birds this weekend or not - I hope it was a good one! And to my friends in the mid-Atlantic region - prayers for you as you dig out from all that snow!
See you all again sometime soon ... :)