My First Day of the Great Backyard Bird Count

by Larry Jordan on February 13, 2010

Anna’s Hummingbird Female photo by Larry Jordan

I got in my first day of counting for the Great Backyard Bird Count today.  It began with an Anna’s Hummingbird outside my window.  I didn’t take a photo of the one outside my window but I’m posting theses photos that I took while at the Wildhorse Golf Club, photographing the Burrowing Owls there.

I spotted this little female Anna’s as I was leaving the area.  She was plucking down from a cattail next to a bridge which I thought quite odd until I discovered that Anna’s Hummingbirds begin their nesting when the winter rains begin.

This early breeding enables them to avoid competition from other hummingbirds and take advantage of the flowering shrubs from March through June as they raise their brood.  To see an Allen’s Hummingbird raising her two chicks in southern California check out this live web cam.

So, I began my first count of this 13th Annual GBBC with Anna’s Hummingbird and finished after a little over an hour with 20 species I observed on my property.  This is the list from today:

  • California Quail – 2
  • Turkey Vulture – 1
  • Mourning Dove – 3
  • Anna’s Hummingbird – 3
  • Acorn Woodpecker – 1
  • Nuttall’s Woodpecker – 1
  • Northern Flicker – 1
  • Western Scrub-Jay – 2
  • Common Raven – 2
  • Oak Titmouse – 2
  • White-breasted Nuthatch – 2
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 1
  • Western Bluebird – 2
  • American Robin – 1
  • Spotted Towhee – 1
  • Dark-eyed Junco – 21
  • House Finch – 12
  • Lesser Goldfinch – 32
  • American Goldfinch – 2
  • European Starling – 2

This is the first sighting of European Starlings in my yard and I am not happy to see them.  I will be keeping a close eye on this non-native species.

To see more great bird photos, get on over to Bird Photography Weekly!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Eileen February 14, 2010 at 2:06 am

Hello Larry, it looks like you are off to a great count. I counted yesterday too and I was very upset to have at least twenty Starlings in my yard. I really wish they would go away.
.-= Eileen´s last blog ..Red Shouldered Hawk =-.


Amber Coakley February 14, 2010 at 10:17 am

I better get it in gear and upload my counts. This is a great weekend for watching through the window. 🙂
.-= Amber Coakley´s last blog ..Before the Snow, There Was Rain =-.


Kelly February 14, 2010 at 11:11 am

I’m inside counting this weekend as well! And it’s good that I am, as I’m sneezing and sniffing and serving as hostess to a very irritating cold! Yuck…

That you get to see hummingbirds now is wonderful. 6-8 inches of snow is moving in tonight, so hope of hummingbirds for me are a long way off. Have fun counting….beautiful photos of the Anna’s.
.-= Kelly´s last blog ..Painting #15 – A Happy St. Valentine’s Day Sandhill Crane… =-.


Mick February 14, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Lovely photos of the little hummingbird and a nice total of birds for your backyard bird count. We humans have been pretty silly the way we have moved birds into new environments and created new pests!
.-= Mick´s last blog ..Bar-tailed Godwits Migrating Soon =-.


NatureFooostep Fåglar/Birds February 14, 2010 at 12:44 pm

I would not mind having this bird in my own backyard. 🙂
.-= NatureFooostep Fåglar/Birds´s last blog ..BPW 77 A new species =-.


Jill February 14, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Love the Anna’s! They’re so pretty it’s ridiculous 🙂 I need to enter my birds for the weekend – I’m home in TN for it and actually have backyard to utilize!


Lana February 14, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Stopped by via Bird Photography Weekly to see your Anna’s Hummingbird. Lovely shots. Congrats on the GBBC, too. Keep up the good work. 😉
.-= Lana´s last blog ..Suprises =-.


bob k February 14, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Not a bad start for GBBC, Larry. And great pictures to boot!
.-= bob k´s last blog ..It’s Chum to say Goodbye =-.


Maria Berg February 14, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Thank you for helping me out with names on som birds (a post a few weeks ago, with flying siluetts).

Lesser Goldfinch – 32, do you know if it is the same bird comming back or 32 diffrent one?

20 diffrent kinds that is good – I was out for 20 min and then I only saw 4 diffrent kind this time.

Take care – MB
.-= Maria Berg´s last blog ..97. Gul =-.


Rob Ripma February 15, 2010 at 11:29 am

Nice shots of the Anna’s. Such a beautiful bird!
.-= Rob Ripma´s last blog ..The Great Backyard Bird Count Weekend: Bird Photography Weekly =-.


chris February 16, 2010 at 7:00 am

Excellent counting you got and the picture of the humming bird are gorgeous!
.-= chris´s last blog ..Fantastic light during the week!!! =-.


ramblingwoods February 16, 2010 at 10:50 am

Hi Larry..I am also doing the GBBC..but I had a couple of questions for you after looking at the product pages…

Can you suggest wren and chickadee bird houses that are HOSP proof and is wood better than the recycled plastic type. I want to gradually had nesting boxes to my property in a way that I can keep them up and not help non-native species to breed…Michelle


Larry February 17, 2010 at 6:32 am

@Michelle that’s a great question. Wrens and Chickadees can both use a birdhouse with a 1 1/8″ entrance hole. If Carolina Wrens don’t seem to use the house, try one with a 1 1/4″ opening. This size is too small for House Sparrows to enter so they are basically HOSP proof. The problem occurs when you have birdhouses with 1 1/2″ or larger entrance holes. Any birdhouse put up should be monitored during nesting season to make sure there are no problems with House Sparrows and that the occupants are doing well.

As far as wood or recycled plastic goes I don’t know the answer to that question. I make my own birdhouses, all out of wood. You might put up some of each and do a comparison. I would be interested in the results.

If you plan on buying any birdhouses, email me first and I will give you a great price on them. If you want plans to build your own I can send you those too.


shawn February 18, 2010 at 12:55 pm

I was totally excited to see bluebirds visit my nest boxes until I started reading about the HOSP – nasty bird. I think I have them but I can’t tell. I tried to ask another birder, but she is unsure too. Can you help? I have several pictures and am wondering if I should take down the nest boxes…I have 4 young kids so the thought of them seeing a HOSP attack another bird -the one we are trying to help – would totally bum me out. We are in No FL…I can send pictures along if you can help.
.-= shawn´s last blog ..I heart faces weekly challenge – places i love =-.


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