Great Backyard Bird Count

February 20, 2015 0 By Audrey

The GBBC is a citizen science project created by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society that gives a near real time snapshot of wild bird data. It also provides and opportunity for citizens to participate in a study and make the birds they see in their backyard “count.”

Last year’s participants totaled over 144,000, providing the largest snapshot of bird populations ever recorded. The stats are pretty impressive; top 10 most birds reported, top 10 species recorded, multiple snowy owl reports, etc. There’s even a photo contest.

While I didn’t participate last year (birds weren’t yet on my radar), this year I was thrilled to be a part of the project. In just 2hrs 15 minutes counting time over Feb 13th-16th, my backyard bird count totaled 83 birds and 14 species!

Anna’s Hummingbird 3
Northern Flicker 1
American Crow 12
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Bushtit 31
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
Pacific Wren 1
American Robin 2
Townsend’s Warbler 1
Song Sparrow 2
Dark-eyed Junco 13
Pine Siskin 4
Lesser Goldfinch 9


The weather was great, I stocked the feeders, and I even added a tray to the sunflower feeder so birds have more room. The adorable Lesser Goldfinch have been a new arrival to the feeders lately, and I was happy to see them make an appearance.

What’s the difference between an American Goldfinch and a Lesser Goldfinch you ask? I wondered this as well. While both are in the same family (Fringillidae), Lesser Goldfinch are slightly smaller, they have a full black cap (males), a non-yellow back, and a slightly stouter bill. I found them super cute, perky, and “lesser” in name only.


Female Lesser Goldfinch


The biggest surprises during the GBBC were the Pacific Wren (formerly known in the west as Winter Wren), a bird I’ve mostly associated with dense conifer forests, and a Townsend’s Warbler! Such a beautiful bird and I was lucky to get a picture to confirm my sighting.

Townsend's Warbler

Townsend’s Warbler

Here’s some other shots I captured from my backyard bird count:


As the Lesser Goldfinch would say, tweets and chirps!