The Great Backyard Bird Count 2008

Today we counted the birds in our back yard garden for the Great Backyard Bird Count, 2008.

We are getting better at counting and positioning ourselves for optimum viewing of the three areas with feeders. It was fairly warm and a comfy seat was found to have at hand the binoculars, two cameras, pad and pen. The feeders were filled, the birds were chirping loudly in the trees, lots of activity in the big walnut draped with dozens of vines, a favorite bird hang out. Wearing a charcoal hooded sweatshirt and black pants, so as to blend in with the surroundings, I was ready to begin the count.

It is amazing how much easier the count went when the weather is pleasant and you were only doing it for fifteen minutes. The forecast was for major rain later in the day, it was very cloudy and breezy but the birds were willing and so was I.

Our most numerous birds are the cardinals, they are also the easiest to count, the colors standing out against the grays and browns of the shrubs and trees.

It is also easy to count the males and females, their plumage is so different.

Here is the count from our backyard garden at 9:30 AM, for fifteen minutes, February 17, 2008.
1 Red Bellied Woodpecker
2 Downy Woodpecker
1 Hairy Woodpecker
4 White Throated Sparrow
1 Carolina Wren
5 American Goldfinch
7 House Finch
1 Eastern Towhee
2 Carolina Chickadee
8 Northern Cardinal
2 Tufted Titmouse
One of the most exciting things about this activity was seeing that the goldfinches are starting to ‘yellow up’. That means spring will be here soon. It can’t come soon enough, for it is the favorite of all seasons here at Faire Garden.
To view the results of the Big Garden Birdwatch in January 2008, click here.

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13 Responses to The Great Backyard Bird Count 2008

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    You had some good birds at your feeders Frances. It is windy here too. Birds have to cling to the feeders to get a seed.

  2. jodi says:

    Awesome collection of birds, but also of blossoms in the bloom post (there were so many comments, I thought I’d leave mine here!). I can’t decide which I liked better, the crocus, or your paphs. Do you find them relatively easy? One of the orchid enthusiasts around here has been telling me I could handle them, but I dunno…I tend to sometimes be a little neglectful of my indoor plants.
    Frances, your eye for colour is just so wonderful! You also make a very good point about how catalogues show plants–or don’t show them. It takes some time–and I think, some blogs like yours–for a newer gardener to really get to know what a given plant will look like beyond the pretty gardenporn of macro shots. But the macros are fun too, of course….

  3. Frances says:

    Lisa…I read your bird post, very funny, but not for the person trying to count birds, I suppose. We are now having the heavy rain, glad we got the count done early.

    Jodi…Thanks so much, that is a high compliment coming from one I admire. The paphs took me a while to get the hang of the proper treatment to get the rebloom, but are considered one of the easy types because of their low light requirement. Do give them a try, I only water once a week, feed very dilute mix once a month. I do have a room built just to grow orchids with a fan running and low night, warmer day temps, they seem to like that better. They are so unusual, I love them.

  4. Kylee says:

    What fun! You have some great birds feeding there. Nice to see the finches yellowing up. My dad said he saw some here that were also looking more yellow.

  5. Frances says:

    Kylee…It was fun and the birds were cooperative. I love the goldfinches and will be looking for more yellow on them as the weather turns warmer.

  6. kate says:

    Hi Frances,

    It sounds as if you had a great bird count. Your photographs are just gorgeous.

  7. Robin (Bumblebee) says:


    I’m counting too! I also posted tonight about TGBBC. Great activity.

    I do my counting from a big window in a comfy chair. Today I counted 30 goldfinshes and 170 red winged blackbirds! In the past I have counted up to 28 mourning doves!

    You have a great variety!

    Robin at Bumblebee

  8. Frances says:

    Kate…Thanks. I am still working with the new camera, but think it is not the right one for bird photos.

    Robin at Bumblebee…Wow, you have a lot of birds! I have trouble counting just the few we have. I can’t see the whole backyard from just one window so really need to go outside and still miss some, but it’s fun, especially when the weather is nice.

  9. Diana says:

    Frances – Your bird photos are great — they are hard to get as I tried in vain for some time last week. And I’m amazed at the wide variety that you were able to count and identify. I bought myself a book a few weeks ago – 250 north american birds in song — it plays the song of all the birds and has a blurb about them and their habitat. I so enjoy going through it trying to ID bird songs of birds that I don’t know. Keep sharing your bird pictures with us.

  10. Mad Man Bamboo says:

    Frances, these birds are beautiful! Thanks for sharing these shots.


  11. shirl says:

    Wow, Frances 🙂

    What an excellent count for 15 minutes!! Ours in the UK was for an hour as you know and I doubt many gardens would match your numbers.

    As I have said many times I love your male cardinals they really must look like flowers on the bare tree branches at this time of year 😀

  12. Frances says:

    Diana…Thanks. I would love to learn the bird songs, I only know a couple now. The same birds come around the feeders most of the time, but occasionally there is a new visitor that calls for the Peterson guide to be brought out.

    Sean…Thanks and welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

    shirl…It was a good day for counting, the chirping level was high. Others counted many more and we didn’t have some of our regular customers, such as the nuthatches, white and red breasted that we see daily. Fifteen minutes isn’t much time and the counting was fast and furious. But so much fun!

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