Saturday, February 13, 2010

Nilavi and Madhu's Great Backyard Bird Count 2010

This Friday started for me with my 4-year-old daughter Nilavi jumping up on the bed and shaking me excitedly with: "Appa! Wake up - let's do the bird count!" Lovely way to start the day, eh? So, after I had awakened fully, Nilavi and I grabbed our binoculars and headed out to the back porch, to conduct our very first count for the Great Backyard Bird Count 2010. Not a bad way to start of Darwin Day either!

As a strong enthusiast for citizen science, and founder of the Fresno Bird Count, I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I haven't volunteered to participate in too many such counts myself! Something about being a "professional" ornithologist, I guess... its not a hobby when I'm doing it regularly for my own projects! But when I have such a bright-eyed partner to get me out of bed and out the door, I just might find myself as a citizen scientist more often. Within the next few days, in fact, for Nilavi is keen to count birds on every one of the 4 days of this GBBC, which runs through this long weekend, from Feb 12-15, 2010.
So we did a basic 15 minute count for the first day, focusing on birds within and in the visible vicinity of our backyard. It was far from a dull quarter of an hour, what with a larger than usual flock of American Robins calling and fluttering about the tops of several bare trees, a couple of Northern Flickers tapping along the bigger branches, White-crowned Sparrows singing in the brush of a neighbor's yard, and a flock of Cedar Waxwings bejeweling the tree crowns! We counted a total of a dozen species, and a short while ago, entered our data into the GBBC database. Here's our complete checklist:

California Gull - 15
Mourning Dove - 8
Northern Flicker - 2
Western Scrub-Jay - 2
American Crow - 2
American Robin - 22
Northern Mockingbird - 1
European Starling - 3
Cedar Waxwing - 25
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 1
White-crowned Sparrow - 4
House Finch - 5

And later, I managed to capture the above images of some of the birds. How was your GBBC experience?


thedispersalofdarwin February 13, 2010 at 1:38 PM  

My son (almost 4) and I went out this morning to a nature trail near our neighborhood:


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