Great Backyard Bird Count – Feb 15-18

February 12, 2013 at 1:07 pm (Birds - Georgia, Georgia, Nature, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )

Yellow-shafted Flicker

Yellow-shafted Flicker

The Great Backyard Bird Count is the Christmas Bird Count Lite – anybody can spend 15 minutes during the GBBC and count the species of birds in your backyard.  Or go hog wild and spend as much time as you want on all four days.  For info go to http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc and participate in this Citizen Science venture.

In the meantime, I will post photos of some of the birds in my backyard here in southeastern Georgia.

Yellow-bellied sapsucker, immature female with sapwells

Yellow-bellied sapsucker, immature female with sapwells

When I lived in Maine, I had numerous bird feeders, but the Great Recession meant I couldn’t afford bird seed for a few years. ( I remember years ago buying a bag of seed for a bird friend who claimed poverty even though I wasn’t rolling in dough; she never returned the favor, alas.)

Red-headed woodpecker, immature

Red-headed woodpecker, immature

Then I embarked on a gypsy life working for the National Park Service, and now the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and until now couldn’t afford seed or wasn’t allowed to feed birds within park boundaries where I lived.

Female bluebird

Female bluebird

But now, I have a big yard, and I salvaged a few of my bird feeders when I sold my home last summer.  So I’m back to my delightful old habits.

American goldfinches wintering in Georgia

American goldfinches wintering in Georgia

I noticed my neighbor now has a bunch of feeders out.  Stealing my birds!  Well, actually, I can watch birds on his nickle now!

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

There have been reports in various towns in Georgia of hummingbirds that are rarely seen here (wayward migrants) so I’ve had my feeder out for a month – no takers though.  I’m sure they will be here soon.

Mourning and common ground doves - notice the latter are about half the size of the former.  They are fast little fliers, too.

Mourning and common ground doves – notice the latter are about half the size of the former. They are fast little fliers, too.

I have had four types of woodpeckers in my yard (no photos of the red-bellied yet, and I’m waiting for a pileated to show up).  And three types of doves.

Common ground dove - notice the "scaling" of the feathers.

Common ground dove – notice the “scaling” of the feathers.

Eurasian collared dove - the name tells you it's an import.  There's one pair that visits my yard.

Eurasian collared dove – the name tells you it’s an import. There’s one pair that visits my yard.

Since I help plan the interpretive programs at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, I scheduled three bird programs in honor of the Great Backyard Bird Count.

Eastern phoebe

Eastern phoebe

One is The Special Bird of the Okefenokee – a hike to learn about the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, which needs longleaf pine forests to survive.

Cowbird male - these birds lay eggs in those of other birds, often to the detriment of the unwilling host's own young.

Cowbird male – these birds lay eggs in nests of other birds, often to the detriment of the unwilling host’s own young.

Another is a program I’ve adapted from another park to fit Okefenokee:  Why Birds are Cool and Why Okefenokee is a Cool Place for Birds.  This is an audio-visual look at the humorous side of birds (and birders) and the serious issues birds face.

Common Grackles.  These guys make a lot of noise, and sometimes are accompanied by red-winged blackbirds

Common Grackles. These guys make a lot of noise, and sometimes are accompanied by red-winged blackbirds

And last is Attracting Birds to Your Backyard – about how to select seed, create habitat, and get them to nest in your yard.  So come on out Saturday Feb. 16 to the east entrance, seven miles south of Folkston, GA.  See the Okefenokee NWR website for more info.

I can’t ignore another denizen of the backyard – the crafty, sometimes annoying, often entertaining gray squirrel.

Gray Squirrel

Gray Squirrel

www.CindyMcIntyre.com

All text and images are copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre.  Feel free to reblog or share, but don’t forget the credit line.

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2 Comments

  1. dinajohnston said,

    You have so many great birds in your yard! I only get doves and blue jays. I think I have to work on my seed selection.

    • Cindy McIntyre said,

      I put down a mix: cracked corn and mixed seed with more millet than milo (many birds don’t like milo) on the ground. One feeder has black oil sunflower seeds. The other is a thistle feeder with niger thistle. I also have a suet block but it hasn’t gotten much attention. I will try straight suet (from the supermarket) next time I shop, as it was very popular in Maine.

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