Sunday 15 January 2012

The little things...

Well, when you are spending the winter near Bancroft you can't exactly expect to be blown away with bird diversity so I find other ways to be entertained by our feathered friends.  My brother always laughs when I talk about the other winter I spent in Bancroft because I became pretty obsessed with getting as high of counts as possible with my feeders (my highest count of a species was 286 American Goldfinches).  This year has been much slower though and I am going through much less seed as a result.  However, this weekend's cold weather (-27 this morning) has brought some more activity.
Part of a flock of at least 144 American Goldfinches.  My secret? That tray of fake crab meat and shrimp on the right- keeps 'em coming back for more!

I was happy to see a big flock of goldfinches both days this weekend, with my highest count on Saturday coming in at 144, just over half my highest count from winter 2009-2010. Today the goldfinches were also joined by a couple nice adult male Purple Finches and 3 Pine Siskins.  The big highlight of the day was an American Tree Sparrow - I haven't seen one here since December 3.
A pair of Hairy Woodpeckers adds a little variety..
The other regulars this weekend were a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers and a male Downy Woodpecker, plus the usual Blue Jays (max 10), Black-capped Chickadees and both nuthatches.

Here are my ebird checklists from Saturday and Sunday.
The other bird-related thing I did this weekend was try a new technique for recording birds for ebird on a drive.  I needed the help of Erica for this one.  We had about a two hour car drive heading to White Lake for a post-Christmas get-together at her Aunt and Uncle's so we thought we'd do a survey of the winter birds on the southern Canadian Shield- with a twist.  We recorded in 10km intervals to get a better representation of the frequency different species occur at.  In two hours, we managed a whopping 63 individuals of 9 species (a bit higher than I would have guessed...).  Here's the list with the frequency of checklists for each species:
Common Raven - 55%
Blue Jay - 35%
American Goldfinch - 25%
Black-capped Chickadee - 20%
Wild Turkey - 10% (two each near Denbigh and MacArthur's Mills)
American Crow - 5% (Burnstown)
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 5%
American Robin - 5% (near Calabogie)
European Starling - 5% (in Bancroft)

Anyways, I thought it was a neat twist and provided more information than just doing a single list for the entire car ride.

1 comment:

  1. sounds very scientific of you, mike! you'll be happy to know we finally have our feeders up and running, but so far we've only got house sparrows, any suggestions? i think it's just the weather, and hopefully some other species will start checking in as the cold progresses:)--your sis!