Last Day of the Great Backyard Bird Count

by Larry Jordan on February 21, 2010

Bewick’s Wren photos by Larry Jordan

On the last day of the Great Backyard Bird Count, I took a trip into town to run some errands and did two counts in two different areas.  I arrived at the first location at sunrise hoping to find the Great Horned Owl nest I photographed last spring but the owls did not chose to nest there this year.  I did however find 22 species in and around several acres of partially developed land behind the local junior high school.

The most notable birds of this early morning walk were twenty-five Wood Ducks that were enjoying a swim in a pond below Gray Pines and large Valley Oaks where I spotted fifty-four Mourning Doves perched like ornaments on the huge trees.  There was a covey of California Quail I heard as I traversed the grassy areas between the empty sidewalks.  Thirty-two quail sauntered across the road without a care in the world, not a motor vehicle in sight.

Around this junior high school I saw another scene I had never before observed.  I counted approximately 385 American Robins, scouring the lawn areas for tasty morsels.  They covered the ball fields and every other lawn area I could see.

As I made my way into town I saw many birds not counted on my journey.  I had errands to do but I made time to stop by Turtle Bay on the Sacramento River before heading back home where I found this cheerful singing Bewick’s Wren.

The female Bewick’s Wren will call but the male is the only singer in the family.  He sounds like this (courtesy of [audio:]

I had a nice hour long walk along the Sacramento River where I observed another 21 species.  With a few species counted in both locations, my total for the last day of the GBBC was 40 species.  Not bad for a couple of hour long walks in different habitats.

To see some great bird photos, check out Bird Photography Weekly!  Below are my species lists for the two locations I counted.

Palo Cedro, California:

  • Greater White-fronted Goose – 16
  • Wood Duck – 25
  • California Quail – 32
  • Mourning Dove – 54
  • Lewis’s Woodpecker – 12
  • Acorn Woodpecker – 3
  • Nuttall’s Woodpecker – 1
  • Downy Woodpecker – 1
  • Western Scrub-Jay – 8
  • American Crow – 6
  • Oak Titmouse – 4
  • White-breasted Nuthatch – 2
  • American Robin – 385
  • European Starling – 8
  • Spotted Towhee – 3
  • California Towhee – 2
  • Song Sparrow – 2
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – 2
  • White-crowned Sparrow – 12
  • Golden-crowned Sparrow – 3
  • Brewer’s Blackbird – 15
  • House Finch – 7

Turtle Bay, Redding, California:

  • Bufflehead – 22
  • Canada Goose – 2
  • Common Goldeneye – 1
  • Common Merganser – 3
  • Great Egret – 1
  • Snowy Egret – 1
  • Turkey Vulture – 25 Confirmed
  • Red-shouldered Hawk – 1
  • American Coot – 12
  • Killdeer – 1
  • Ring-billed Gull – 1
  • Herring Gull – 1
  • Anna’s Hummingbird – 1
  • Nuttall’s Woodpecker – 1
  • Black Phoebe – 1
  • Tree Swallow – 8
  • Oak Titmouse – 2
  • Bewick’s Wren – 2
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 1
  • American Robin – 2
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – 4

If you participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count, don’t forget to submit your checklist. They are due by March 1st.  If you didn’t participate I hope you will next year.  It’s lots of fun and you help by becoming a citizen scientist and contributing to the sum of knowledge about birds.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

chris February 21, 2010 at 11:54 am

HI Larry,
You got to see so many species, I envy you… I went out today to barely see 15 species!! and of course, no pictures cause the weather did not permit that. Well done on the bewyck’s wren, it is a magnificent bird and you got nice pictures of it!
.-= chris´s last blog ..And snow bunting in Reykjavík. =-.


Müge February 21, 2010 at 12:49 pm

What a beautiful bird! What a lovely singing! A true delight for eyes and ears!
.-= Müge´s last blog ..White-throated Magpie-jay =-.


Mick February 21, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Great photos of the little wren and very good totals of birds in the two locations.
.-= Mick´s last blog ..Varied Sittella =-.


Kelly February 21, 2010 at 9:03 pm

…listened to the wren’s call–I’m in love! Very sweet sound. Lovely photos as well.

…I’d love to see 25 Wood Ducks at the same time! I’ve never seen that many together.
.-= Kelly´s last blog ..Winter robins…they like Cheerios too! =-.


eileen February 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Wow, you saw a lot of Robins. I do not think I have ever seen a large group of wood ducks. Love the Wren shots. Looks like you had a nice birding outing and count.
.-= eileen´s last blog ..Yellow Billed Cuckoo =-.


The Early Birder February 23, 2010 at 12:05 am

Excellent list for the last day of your GBBC with thrushes in high numbers. Similar situation over here with Redwing and Fieldfares. Thanks for sharing the Wren’s song..beautiful. FAB.
.-= The Early Birder´s last blog ..Reflections from the marsh. =-.


NatureFooostep Fåglar/Birds February 23, 2010 at 1:48 am

lol, love the tail of this bird. 🙂

I would like to see your dipper as well. They are fun birds to watch.
.-= NatureFooostep Fåglar/Birds´s last blog ..Strömstare i tvätt tagen – Grooming time for the white throated dipper =-.


Kyle February 23, 2010 at 11:41 am

Impressive lists for your GBBC walks, Larry! And I love those sweet shots of the Bewick’s Wren. Outstanding!
.-= Kyle´s last blog ..Life Bird #150: The Elusive Osprey =-.


Jill February 24, 2010 at 9:57 am

more great birds! (oh yeah to answer your question…song sparrow, not a fox – but i actually wondered the same thing at first. they look a lot different in TN!)
.-= Jill´s last blog ..One Tree =-.


Eric February 26, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Nice hummingbird picture! How do you guys attract so many birds to your yard? I’m really interested in hummingbirds.


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