Monday, June 29, 2020

Backyard Birds through June 2020--We've Tied Our Record!

As I mentioned in an earlier Backyard Bird post, 2020 is the year to really learn about birds in your backyard! With teleworking and sheltering-at-home, we've had lots more time around the yard. I've had a lot of fun spending more time with these local birds. Above is a goldfinch on our garden fence. I have seen so many more goldfinches this year, and have learned a little more about differentiating between American Goldfinches and Lesser Goldfinches. I believe the one pictured above is a female breeding American Goldfinch due to its lighter-colored bill (correct me if I'm wrong!).

I love the song of Western Meadowlarks, but it's often hard to get a good look at them because they fly off so fast. One day, one flew into a dead tree near me while I had my long lens on. Hooray! It's so cool to see it's black bib and freckles in its wingpits (okay, not technically correct, but do you understand what I mean by wingpits?).

We don't have to look far outside to find birds, as we have several cliff swallows and barn swallow nests on our house. I couldn't take the five over the front door, so they had to come down. It didn't take long for the birds to relocate them. This is a barn swallow on its nest. They seem to raise several clutches every year.

It's really easy to tell a barn swallow when you can see its long tail.

Here's a pair of Brewer's Blackbirds. I always look for that bright yellow eye on the male. The female is a browner color.

We often have lots of little birds hanging around. Here we have pine siskins and an American Goldfinch.

A new bird for our list this year is the Evening Grosbeak. Several hung out in our neighbor's trees for several days. They are yellow like the goldfinches, but quite a bit larger.

About the same size, but with brighter coloring and a really raucous call is the Bullock's Oriole. They make the cool hanging nests, and you can sometimes even find twine in them.

In the past I didn't think we had time to maintain a hummingbird feeder, but with being home more this year, we do. In past years we've only put "hummingbird" on the list. This year we've seen at least two species: Black-Chinned Hummingbird (female below) and Broad-Tailed Hummingbird (males make a buzzing noise as they fly around).

Killdeer let us know when they are around with their noisy alarm calls.

We've had a Western Wood-Pewee hanging out around the yard a lot. They aren't a colorful bird, but they make a loud pee-er  sound that is distinctive.

Here's our current list. If you're on a computer, you can see the list on the right hand column. On a phone, I don't think it appears.

1. Black-billed Magpie (1.2.20)
2. European Starling (1.2.20)
3. Eurasian Collared Dove (1.2.20)
4. Red-tailed Hawk (1.3.20)
5. Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (1.6.20)
6. Common Raven (1.15.20)
7. Northern Flicker (1.15.20)
8. Great Horned Owl (1.20.20)
9. Canada Goose (1.29.20)
10. Pinyon Jay (
11. White-crowned Sparrow (2.10.20)
12. Bald Eagle (2.16.20)
13. Golden Eagle (2.16.20)
14. House Sparrow (2.19.20)
15. American Robin (3.10.20)
16. Western Meadowlark (3.10.20)
17. Sandhill Crane (3.12.20)
18. Say's Phoebe (3.17.20)
19. Turkey Vulture (3.22.20)
20. Belted Kingfisher (3.25.20)
21. Killdeer (3.25.20)
22. Pine Siskin (3.23.20)
23. American Goldfinch (4.3.20)
24. Yellow-rumped Warbler (4.9.20)
25. Red-winged Blackbird (4.8.20)
26. Brewer's Blackbird (4.10.20)
27. Wild Turkey (4.15.20)
28. Barn Swallow (4.16.20)
29. Western Kingbird (4.21.20)
30. Evening Grosbeak (4.26.20)
31. Great Blue Heron (4.28.20)
32. Swainson's Hawk (4.30.20)
33. Yellow Warbler (5.1.20)
34. Bullock's Oriole (5.3.20)
35. Black-chinned Hummingbird (5.3.20)
36. Violet-green Swallow (5.3.20)
37. Common Poorwill (5.3.20)
38. Western Wood-Pewee (5.12.20)
39. Northern Mockingbird (5.27.20)
40. Common Nighthawk (5.29.20)
41. Long-billed Curlew (6.2.20)
42. House Finch (6.8.20)
43. Broad-tailed Hummingbird (6.8.20)
44. Brown-headed Cowbird (6.22.20)
45. Chicken (6.22.20)

Do you like our last one? Ha, ha, the kids really wanted us to get to 45! I think we will see at least a couple more species this year and break last year's record! One bird species that has been conspicuously absent is the American Kestrel. Usually they nest in our yard, but we haven't seen any. I'm still crossing my fingers we'll see at least one. This has been a great family activity, as when someone sees something new, they'll check with other family members if they also saw it. The kids don't consider themselves birders, but they know quite a few species.

Good luck spotting birds in your backyard!

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