Thursday, July 9, 2020

Audubon Backyard Bird Count

The great Egret is in mating plumage.

The great Egret is in mating plumage.

By Joan Kelly

Every year we participate in the Audubon Backyard Bird Count by land and by sea. This year during the February 18- 21 event we did two locations, Port of the Islands and Isles of Capri, with surprising results. On days prior to the count we saw the usual birds that pass our house daily. On the days of the bird count some of these birds just did not show. Maybe they did not want to be counted. A green heron sits on our dock ladder every day, dipping for breakfast. He was a no show. The flock of black vultures that sit on the businesses on Capri were also missing.

I was upset that the Pileated Woodpecker did not show up until the day after we recorded our count. Likewise the Brown Headed Cow Birds.

At the Port of the Isles we spotted 17 different bird species in two and half hours. They included two eagles that nest in the area, terns, pelicans, cormorants, osprey, vultures (Maybe that

Ibis flock has a daily route past our house.

Ibis flock has a daily route past our house.

is where they went!) and white ibis.

On Capri we spotted 27 different bird species in a total of four hours of bird watching over the three day period. Our neighbor has a bird feeder and every Mourning Dove in the area knows where it is located. Next were the mocking birds, starlings, grackles, and white ibis.

We also spotted one less than common bird, a solitary Rusty Blackbird. There were a few cardinals, and we knew that we had several different ones because of their songs. Normally, they sing in short passages with 5 to 10 repetitions of a slurred whistle. But one redbird extended his short passages for more than 30 repetitions before taking a break. Must have been a southern accent.

We saw a Broad Winged Hawk eating a meal on the ground in front of a house near ours. The osprey nests are very active and some may have young but we could only spot the adults, with 14 counted.

It was an enjoyable way to spend the day observing birds.

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