Other than being buried in IBA Program deadlines, Eurasian Tree Sparrow hybrid manuscripts, MBBAII species accounts, and MBRC website updates, I have no substantive excuse for holding out this long. Perhaps I am just avoiding personal hubris in what appears to be a certain, easy path to victory in a childish competition with two wide-eyed beginners, or perhaps I can simply no longer handle the pressure of being the only one of the three of us who cannot seem to manage a single god-forsaken White-winged Crossbill in my yard! The second possibility would appear to be the more likely explanation, much as I hate to admit it.
I currently stand at a whopping 24 species for the 2009 yard list, the most recent addition being this handsome PIWO which paid the suet a visit:Other highlights include Sharp-shinned Hawk (not always easy in winter), 50+ Common Redpolls (still scouring each bird for a Hoary), Eastern Bluebird and European Starling. No joke, the starling is one of only2 sightings since moving to this property in July 2008. Speaking of my property, here it is:
I live in a subdivision amongst a landscape of small forest remnants surrounded by agriculture, with one great exception: the Rogue River. Only 1/2 mile to the north and east of my property is a large, 1/2 mile wide corridor of mature deciduous forest along the banks of the river. This is certainly the reason I have seen a Pileated Woodpecker in my yard, and I hope to get several other species of forest-interior birds as they wander out of the Rogue and down the corridor of woods to my house. Here is the aerial photography of my property, zoomed out.Note the airport in the upper left portion of the photo. This has afforded me both American Pipit and Horned Lark as flyby yard birds (2008), and is certain to help me get even more open habitat species which I would otherwise miss.
Biggest targets over the next couple months are: Wild Turkey (the flock hanging out in the field just southeast of my house have still never been visible from the yard!), Hoary Redpoll (come on, we can do this!), any ducks (MALL, COGO, BUFF, HOME, WODU, COME are all on nearby water bodies already), Rough-legged Hawk (even Curtis has had this in his very urban yard- twice!), Fox Sparrow, Winter Wren, Bald Eagle, Carolina Wren, and American Kestrel, among many others.
One last thing. I am exceptionally lucky to be working out of the house. So, unlike my opponents, I am able to watch my feeders all day long, missing very few of the birds which use them. Though I hope this plays to my advantage, I doubt it will allow me to overcome the much larger, more diverse property on which Sean resides- hey maybe he could just leave there for half the year or something? Whattya say, Sean?
2013 and beyond
It's pretty simple: the most birds seen or heard from one's yard during 2013 will be the "winner". Want in? O.k....then do it despite that.
2013 promises to be a lot less mean but still a carbon-free birding competition, even if slightly less exciting than a MEGA x EPIC hybrid.