Project FeederWatch set 17 to 20 February as the window for this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count (GBYC). I used Cornell’s eBird Mobile app to record birds who came to the feeders on the last 2 days of the count. A disappointing number of species showed up to be tallied, although Mr. and Mrs. Wild Turkey strolled into the count one day. Otherwise, I could report only on several usual suspects: Tufted Titmice and Black-capped Chickadees, 2 Norther Cardinals, 1 Hairy and 1 Downy Woodpeckers, 1 White-throated Sparrow –really not many of any.
Yesterday — the GBYC over, I passed the kitchen window and could not miss a class of mixed-species Aves at the feeders. Grabbing my binoculars I confirmed a first-of-year (FOY) male House Finch, a FOY Mourning Dove, a runway’s worth of Dark-eyed Juncos who dress like fashionistas — a pink beak, a beautiful grey-blue slate-colored coat and white belly, a Common Grackle with its pale yellow eye ring that contrasts with the blues, greens and blacks of its iridescent wing feathers, and what my friend Carla calls THE harbinger of spring — a male Red-winged Blackbird showing only its pale yellow coverts in these days before mating plumage, the eponymous red coverts not yet expressed. Several year-round birds gathered as well: 2 of the 4 pairs of Norther Cardinals, one of the uncountable Hairy Woodpeckers, a babel of Chickadees, and an invasion of Blue Jays,
They were all there two days after the Great Backyard Bird Count closed. I took no photos but sang a birdsong of gratitude.