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Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Count 2009

We had a good Christmas Bird Count and amazingly, there was no snow storm here. It was however, very cold in the early morning, temp. at 9 degrees. That brought lots of birds into feeders and that was were we counted the majority of the birds we saw. Highlights were the Fox Sparrow at our feeders. We have been pampering this bird all week, with lots of millet, a protected shelter, brush pile and heated towels (the part about the towels is a joke, that's what you get in a 4 star hotel). We had the only Fox Sparrow seen on the southwestern NH Christmas Count.

Hairy Woodpeckers were well represented. This one likes our hulled sunflower.

We bundled up and

headed out with our Christmas Count buddies, Meade and Sandy, plus our 2 Corgis and their Pomeranian, Dolly.

It was the kind of snow that has a 1 inch crust over the powder, so it was hard to walk as your feet broke through the crust, plus made loud crunching sounds. But it was beautiful. That's the view in front of our house.

One nice thing about counting the birds at our feeders — it can be done from inside the warm house.

Here's the shelter and brush pile we made. At first light, 6 Mourning Doves were huddled under it, eating the millet there.

We had 33 Dark-eyed Juncos at our feeders, the most seen in our area. The best part of the count is that every bird counts. So, it makes you pay attention to everything. The other best part is fun with friends. We saw 17 species, and 237 individual birds for the part of the count circle our team covered. There were other teams covering the other parts of the count circle. Our species list:

Mourning Dove 14
Hairy Woodpecker 11
Downy Woodpecker 16
Crow 4
Blue Jay 20
Black-capped Chickadee 33
Tufted Titmouse 17
White-breasted Nuthatch 6
Red-breasted Nuthatch 3
Golden-crowned Kinglet 7
Northern Cardinal 5
Fox Sparrow 1
American Tree Sparrow 6
White-throated Sparrow 3
Dark-eyed Junco 34
American Goldfinch 51
Wild Turkey 3

5 comments:

habs12 said...

Really enjoy your blog, info, and great pics. Merry Christmas to all!

Jessica said...

Hi. Heated towels? I'm just curious how these are used... I've read contradictory reports on providing water to birds in very cold temperatures, as it freezes rather than dries on their feathers. Are these heated wet towels? Thanks! Happy Festivus!

Lillian and Don Stokes said...

Jessica,
We wer joking about the towels, as that's what one would get in a fancy hotel.
There is some controversy about providing water to birds in extremely cold weather, some say not to do it. In mild or slightly cool weather it's OK.

Jessica said...

Haha. While I enjoy a nice warm towel, I went in a totally different direction with that one :) I probably lose my sense of humor right around Thanksgiving and won't get it back until after Jan. 1. Thanks for blogging!

Tamia Nelson said...

I like the idea of a shelter of the sort you mention for your doves. The photo is small and it's difficult to see what you've done to make the shelter, and it looks like hay on the ground but I can't be sure. Could you elaborate on this, especially for folks whose yards don't have the natural shrubs and trees for birds? Thanks.