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Did any of you take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count this year? What did you see?

My son counted:
Mourning Dove - 8
Inca Dove - 1
Anna's Hummingbird - 2
Black Phoebe - 1

What was a very noticeable change from his count last year was a lack of house sparrows and house finches. It could have been the time of the day he counted, and the fact it was cold and rainy.

We weren't worried about house sparrows, because we still see them all the time. Here's one from the park the other day:

But we had already noticed fewer house finches in our yard, even though we were feeding the same kinds of seeds in the same kind of feeder. Checking the previous count totals for our city in previous years we see 138 house finches were counted in 2009, 102 in 2010 and now only 31 so far this year. House finches are native to the Southwest, so we checked to see if the trend carried throughout the state. Sure enough 7,978 house finches were counted in 2009, 7,132 in 2010 and only 3,821 in 2011 (not all reports made yet).

(Photo from 2009).

The Black Phoebe is an interesting new addition, although I noticed this morning that the male Anna's hummingbirds are giving it trouble so I don't know whether it will stay.

What birds did you count this year? Do you have house finches?

Did you search through the counts from previous years?

Here's our result for the Great Backyard Bird Count. My son counted the birds in our back yard for 30 minutes.

Mourning Dove 5
Anna's Hummingbird 2
Curve-billed Thrasher 1
Abert's Towhee 2
Great-tailed Grackle 1
House Finch 15
House Sparrow 22

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We added his results to the site today, and it was quick and easy.

If you did the count, we'd love to hear your results.

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The 2010 Great Backyard Bird Count is coming up next weekend, February 12-15. This is a wonderful opportunity for children to participate in a science project where the data they collect really "counts." 🙂image_preview

Even if you don't know a house sparrow from a chickadee, the site has some good information about birds, checklists of birds found in your area, and instructions about data collecting. There is also a list of related backyard activities you can do. Best of all, it's free!

Our family will be participating, because my son is an avid birder. He is also a bird photographer, so he may take part in the photo contest. Note:  photos must be taken during the count weekend.

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Aren't burrowing owls cute? (Now, why can't I take photos like that? :-))

If you and your family take part in the bird count, we'd love to hear about your experiences.

For more information, try these books: