Do you keep a yard list of the birds you see each year?
We do. We've found it's a fun way to keep our eyes peeled for the unusual visitor, and it's also good for remembering the cool stuff we've seen in prior years. Sadly, it's all too easy to forget the occasional visitors, but they can provide a real spark, both when you first observe them and, later, when you remember seeing them.
We didn't do a very good job of observing birds in 2014 - but, then, we were much more focused on Florida than usual! As of right now, I only have a tally of 53 species for last year, which is the lowest number of species I've recorded since we moved in. As I go through my photos, though, I suspect I may be able to identify one or two more species to add to the list. For now, in 2014, we saw 53 species.
That said, the lazuli bunting last May was a yard record. Truthfully, though, I'd forgotten I'd seen it until I saw the photos again....
Of course, part of the fun of keeping an annual yard list is the chance to start fresh each January 1. It's 2:13 p.m. as I write this. Today, so far, I've tallied 20 species for our 2015 list - all of them observed from inside the house, since I'm feeling cocoonish.
So far, we have many of the normal feeder birds: cardinals, blue jays, house sparrows, house finch, goldfinch, downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, starlings, chickadees, tufted titmice, slate colored juncos....
Then we have the birds that are normal to us, but may be less familiar in other areas of the country.
My final bird of the morning, species #20, was a majestic, red-tailed hawk that sailed over the yard and landed in one of the big trees in the draw. No photo of this one, I'm afraid - I didn't think fast enough. Each winter we have a pair of redtails in the area, and each year I hope that they'll nest in our yard, but so far they haven't. Hope springs eternal...I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
So that's the start of my 2015 yard bird list! Do you put out feeders? What birds do you notice foraging in and around your gardens? Just think of all the dormant insects they are eating - and all the fertilizer they are depositing! What are you waiting for?!