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17 January 2008

Bits of Bird Data

I like to watch the birds. We have a feeder on our back porch and I will often write down the birds that visit us and enter them on eBird.org. It's fun in a number of ways. First, because they keep a list of all the species of birds I've entered; I've seen 33 species to date:

Canada Goose
Trumpeter Swan
Wild Turkey
Great Blue Heron
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Mourning Dove
Downey Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Norther Flicker (also a woodpecker)
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow (observed with my brother!)
Black-Capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper (they walk down the trees)
American Robin
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing (they started me in birdwatching)
Dark-eyed Junco ("snow birds")
Northern Cardinal (we had a pair in our yard all summer)
Red-winged Blackbird (they have my favorite call)
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
Purple Finch
House Finch (several pairs live in the tree behind the garage)
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

I would have no idea that there were so many birds that I've seen if I hadn't been telling eBird about them. Matter of fact, I wouldn't know the names of several of those birds had I not been watching and reporting. Other cool facts that I have learned, looking at the data summaries they give:

I have seen 19 species in my yard.

I submitted 108 checklists last year listing birds seen at 12 locations.

94 of those checklists were for birds seen at my house.

I saw 889 birds (well, since so many of them were seen at my house, there are likely a lot of repeat visitors, but there's really no way to tell for sure that I know of.)

Also, thus far this month I am the only person our county to report any birds to eBird.

The really cool thing? Real Scientists may use my data: they do that at eBird. You ought to check it out!


Candace E. Salima said...

That's a lot of birds!

Ritsumei said...

It is! And it built up so gradually that I didn't even realize how many I've been seeing; one here, one there.

Nettie said...

I just started feeding and watching the birds. I have a long way to go before I see that many! I will have to look into the bird reporting thing.

Ritsumei said...

I would have No. Idea. how many birds or even what kind of birds I've seen if I didn't put it into eBird. I have a notebook that I keep near the kitchen table, since I often will watch them over breakfast, and I'll take notes on what I see there, then whenever I get around to it I go to eBird & put them in. When I see a new bird I use my camera to help identify it. Even a bad picture that gets deleted can be a huge help in figuring out what kind of bird it is that's visiting me. Happily, I think that I know all the regulars at my feeder now. Next summer I'm thinking of putting up a second feeder with another type of food so that I can have more "regulars" to learn.


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