2012 Great Backyard Bird Count

© Benjamin Griffin Burns


This year’s Burns family Great Backyard Bird Count event was not the usual well-planned affair. Scheduling conflicts kept me from holding the after school birding program I’ve run for the past four years, so there was not the usual gaggle of children to invite. And I’ve only hung a single feeder since our move, making it unlikely that many of our usual feathered visitors would show up either. I decided a small count, just me and my kids, was the best approach for this year.

But then a reporter from our local daily newspaper called and said she’d like to do an article on backyard birdwatching and my new book. She wanted to schedule an interview for Saturday afternoon, smack-dot in the middle of Great Backyard Bird Count weekend. When I mentioned this, she asked if she could bring along a photographer and collect images of me and the kids counting.

Uh. Okay.

But that seemed sort of crazy. So many of our former bird counters are local kids, friends and neighbors we’ve known forever. The sort of people I could call last minute and say, “Please, please, please come over to my house on Saturday and help us count birds. There will be a reporter. And a photographer. And you guys are much cuter than I am!”

In the end, eight of us counted birds, talked to the reporter, and tried hard to pretend the man with the camera trained on us wasn’t there. It was a fun afternoon that will surely lead to a nice article. As a bonus, we recorded eight species of birds:

Sharp-shinned hawk (a life bird for almost everyone in the group)
Black-capped chicadee
Dark-eyed junco
Downy woodpecker
White-breasted nuthatch
Tufted titmouse
Northern cardinal
Eastern blue bird

And as a bonus-bonus, five more species, recorded over the remainder of the weekend:

American robin (28 of them!)
Blue jay
Red-tailed hawk
Mourning dove
American crow

I’ll append a link to the article as soon as it runs. In the meanwhile, tell me: did you count birds this weekend? What did you see?

Edited 5/17/2012 to add: Here’s the T&G article!

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