Monday, February 01, 2010

January Bird Count Final Tally

Wild Turkey

January 2010 was sometimes bone-chilling cold but we had less snow than usual. Toronto is an hour east of us and I was surprised to see they had no snow at all on Saturday. In the past week we have had persistent flurries off Lake Huron making driving treacherous and visibility poor, but actual accumulation of snow has been just a few centimeters. Because of the extreme cold with windchills in a dangerous range, I did not do any birding in the past week. I dragged The Becka on a fruitless drive through farm country looking for Snowy Owls which are there, but they stayed hidden for me. Unless they are perched on a pole, silo or hay bale, they are difficult to see in the fields.

Look up for a big woodpecker

I looked hard for a Pileated Woodpecker and startled one who was drilling fresh holes in a tree in a bush near our home. I didn't get a picture of the bird but I did catch its handiwork. This is a good time of year to see Wild Turkeys foraging in corn fields for grain and several flocks are found consistently just north of the city.

Pileated Woodpecker Wood Working

I have never spent much time identifying gulls. Winter is a good time for gulls in Southern Ontario and areas like the Niagara River are popular places to look for migrating species. Acting on a tip on our local birding forum, I stopped by a field near our home which is being cleared for a new mall. I would never have noticed anything but Herring Gulls but with help was able to see some white-winged gulls, the Glaucous and Iceland Gulls. There were juveniles of several species in the mix which made identification even more confusing.

So my final tally was 56 birds, 5 short of last year, but 11 more than my goal for this month. Winter finches are still absent around here this season and I had several of them on my list in 2009. I added four birds to my life list which was unexpected.

Here is my final list:

Northern Cardinal
Blue Jay
House Finch
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Mourning Dove
American Crow
Dark-eyed Junco
Coopers Hawk
Common Merganser
Hooded Merganser
Mallard Duck
Canada Goose
Ring-billed Gull
American Tree Sparrow
Brown Creeper
House Sparrow
Rock Pigeon
Red-tailed Hawk
European Starling
Purple Finch

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Snow Bunting
White-throated Sparrow

Herring Gull
Rough-legged Hawk
Horned Lark
Belted Kingfisher
Bufflehead Duck
Goldeneye Duck
American Kestrel
Mute Swan
Trumpeter Swan
Black Duck
Red-breasted Merganser
Northern Shoveler
Bald Eagle
Greater Scaup
Long-tailed Duck
Canvasback Duck
White-winged Scoter
Black Scoter*
Surf Scoter*
Redhead Duck
American Coot
Northern Shrike
Wild Turkey
Great Black-backed Gull

Glaucous Gull*
Iceland Gull*
Pileated Woodpecker

*life bird


  1. Congrats on all those lifers! You did well! I did not get any life birds this year but I did add some species to some of my minor lists, like the scaled quail. It is new on my Pima County list as well as my Sycamore Canyon list. I beat my record from last year but not by as much as I hoped to. I hope to get my post up tomorrow!

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words about me and my new job, Ruth. It really made me feel genuinely encouraged. :)

    So this might sound a bit silly to ask, but how did you learn all the names of these birds?! I honestly find bird-watchers to be some of the most intriguing people, just by virtue of their hobby! So incredible. :)

  3. What a great group of birds. This January the weather has been a little tempermental making it difficult to go birding. But you ended up with some fantastic finds. I too have noticed that red polls, siskens and grosbeaks are not around. Even at the farm there are fewer birds, but that could be from the 2 hawks that have been hanging around the past few weeks. JOB WELL DONE!

  4. I have not seen many birds here at home. I dont' know where they're hiding. Last year I saw juncos aplenty, but not even the chickadees are around much.

    You have an impressive list of birds! And your pics are lovely. I was surprised to see the size of the hold made by the pileated woodpecker! Huge!

  5. My Post is finished and will post right after midnight MST. I finsished with 113 species this year.

  6. I liked what I read in this post because it shows that you made the effort and it did pay some dvidends for you. Congratulations on the lifers! Thanks for playing along.The camaraderie amongst fellow bloggers made it more fun.

  7. Congrats on your lifers, you had an impressive list for January. Great photos!

  8. Hi Ruth, you've given me great hope that I'll find a pileated woodpecker this winter! Maybe later today...

  9. Hi Kellie,
    I see them at Huron Natural Area, Riverside Park in Cambridge and in Steckle Woods a couple of times a year. The best place is the Ottawa area. One morning I saw 6 in one place on a trail and they visit feeders too. Always a treat to find them.

  10. WOW! Six in one place?! Haven't been to Ottawa in a few years, but I'll keep that in mind.
    I would love to see one locally. My one and only sighting was along University Ave in front of UW while walking back to school from lunch, but it was a few years ago. I just can't believe all the evidence I've seen of them; yet, I've been unable to locate any!


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