Monday, November 23, 2009

Feederwatch Counts

Last weekend was our first try at Project Feederwatch.  I've been meaning to post my counts all week, and now that we're doing our second weekend, we're on the verge of falling behind!  Here's what we saw at our feeders last weekend.  The numbers reflect the maximum number of birds seen of that species at any one time.

At the feeders:
Mourning Dove (4)
Nuthatch (2)
Blue Jay (2)
Titmouse (3)
Sparrow (2)
Chickadee (4)

Not at the feeder, but hanging out:
Robin (2)
Hairy Woodpecker (1)

I'm a little concerned about the robins - haven't they usually flown south by now?  My other concern has to do with seeds- the hopper feeders is empty after only one day.  At this rate, my huge bag o'seeds will only last another month or so.  What I'm wondering is if I should keep filling it every day or wait until my feederwatch days.  (The other tube feeder still has seed in it.)  I did write to Cornell to ask them this question but they haven't answered yet.

I'm hoping to post my weekly counts in my sidebar throughout the project.   I'd love to hear from any other feederwatchers - especially if you're nearby!


Joanne said...

Interesting observation about the robins. The past couple of winters, I have definitely noticed robins here and there throughout the winter, once in January a whole flock of them in my yard. This is something I've never, ever seen before. In the past they were one of the very first signs of Spring, so I'd be curious if you notice them throughout the winter. Any ideas why?

tina said...

Don't worry about the robins. Some may stay year round in your area but this year has been unusually mild. They will leave when it is time. Not sure how big your feeder is but sometimes the smaller feeders can surely get emptied fast. I have a big one and a smaller one. Sometimes it seems like daily I have to fill it up too. Your birds are pretty much the same as mine-except we also have finches-lots of them.

sam said...

We've signed up, but haven't been home long enough to get the feeders organized, let alone count! That's on my list for this weekend, since I won't be going out into the post-Thanksgiving shopping crowds. We're on the opposite side of the country, so it will be interesting to compare what we see.

Ronda Laveen said...

I haven't a clue about your feeder problem. But am watching and learning.

I think the Robin's know when and what to do what is right for them.

Devon Ellington said...

I'm in Westchester County, not too far from you. I was wondering about the robins, too.

I'm in an apartment and don't have feeders, but took care of a friend's place in CT a few weeks ago -- I filled both feeders twice a day and they were BARE in just a couple of hours -- and not from squirrels.

I'm looking forward to my house, so I can set up bird feeders and keep track!

JGH said...

Thanks, Joanne and Tina for reassuring me about the robins. Good to know they are not unique to my yard.

Sam, I wonder if we'll have any birds in common??

Ronda, I should put more trust in mother nature, huh? Mother knows best.

Devon, thanks for visiting! So they're hungry in CT too? I'm very curious to see if the bird hunger will taper off a little after they've been fed for a few weeks. Otherwise we're gonna have some chubby ones!

Lzyjo said...

Cool! I love your bird count! What a bummer about the seed running out so quickly! (Are the birds THAT hungry?!) I saw my first two blue jays a few days ago, I wonder if they come from up North. I don't feed them, but we have blue birds all the time. I LOVE them.

Anonymous said...

I recently read somewhere (Cornell Research) that birds who don't migrate are smarter, or need to be smarter and more resourceful.

Talon said...

I haven't seen any robins for the last couple of weeks...I just assumed they were on their regular migration. Our weather has been so strange, I'm thinking they've left just to find some sunshine ;)

JGH said...

Liz, I've never seen a bluebird here, but we have lots of bluejays- a family of 4, in fact.

Anon, interesting tip- thanks. Hopefully some of that robin smartness will rub off on us while they're here. We need all the help we can get.

Talon, it's rare to see them here this time of year. Usually they leave earlier. We're still in the 60s lots of days, though.

edward said...

chickadees and titmice are my personal faves

Proud Procrastinator said...

My Dad, the ornithological enthusiast is here and I asked him about your concerns:

1) Robins don't fly south - they change from insect eaters to berry eaters in winter and tend to hang around places that have berries.
2) Seed consumption rate - are you certain the seeds are not getting eaten by squirrels and/or raccoons? My Dad had all kinds of squirrel confounding devices attached to his feeders to keep them from eating all the seed.

Proud Procrastinator said...

Also, my Dad says you should only have to fill the feeder once a month (he currently uses a motorized feeder that will spin if an object heavier than a bird lands on it) if only birds are eating it. But also, he only used sunflower seeds - the rest is just filler - so the birds will peck and drop, in search of the "good stuff".

JGH said...

Thanks Proud Procrastinator - that is really helpful. I'll cross the robins off my list of things to worry about.

I'm pretty certain that squirrels and raccoons aren't to blame because I haven't seen any squirrels at the feeders and have never seen a raccoon - though I know that's not assurance that they're not around. Still, the squirrel traffic is rare now thanks to Betsy.

Your dad is onto something with the seeds- I've noticed that the birds do pick through for the black sunflowers and the rest of the seed gets spayed on the ground, so I wouldn't be surprised if they are picking and choosing. One problem may be that the hopper is just too easily spilled from. Next time I buy seeds, I'll probably just get the sunflowers.

Thanks again - and thank your dad. We're learning as we go!