Sunday, February 9, 2014

Desert Survivor's Backyard Bird Challenge--Check In Week One *Updated

*Updated bird identifications--see below
Western Scrub-Jay on feeder
Are you taking Desert Survivor's Backyard Bird Challenge? It's easy: How many birds can you find in your backyard this year? Keep a list (we have one in the sidebar now), and add to it each time you find something new.

The kids and I are having a lot of fun with the challenge. I'm impressed with how well they are learning the common birds in the yard. To help encourage birds to come to the yard, we've been putting out birdseed. Both kids love to spread seed.
The most common birds are pinyon jays, which come in a raucous and rowdy group, and the tiny dark-eyed juncos, which don't seem to mind the commotion and go about their business picking up seeds.

Nevertheless, we did get some different birds to our yard:
Cassin's *House Finch (Updated--thank you, kind birder!) The flash of red caught my eye and I couldn't help but do a little happy dance!

Then I saw the tiniest glimpse of yellow:
A pine siskin.  *I thought it was a pine siskin, but really it's a female house finch. Those tricky females! Pine siskins should be around, so we'll keep looking! Pine siskins live higher up the mountain in the summer, where they like to be in pine trees. But in the winter, they come down to the valleys to find food. Pine siskins are also finches, and they like to hang out in mixed flocks, which explains why I saw both these birds on the feeder at the same time.

We got some great close-up views of those pinyon jays. We enjoy watching how the birds move around and interact.

We started our challenge on February 1, and as of February 8, we are up to 14 backyard birds. We should add a couple more winter birds this next week, as we've seen and heard some close to our yard, but not in/from our yard yet. Keeping a list is helping us keep our interest up.

I'd love to hear in the comments or on the Desert Survivor Facebook page how your challenge is going.
Happy birding!

1 comment:

trav4adventures said...

We have finches, sparrows, and doves in our yard. Also a couple of Towhees. Oh, and ravens, too! I love to listen to them. Finally, a pair of Cooper hawks who clean out the doves every 2-3 days...sigh...they even got my scrub jay last year.
Cheryl Ann

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