Dad had to work on some misc repairs outside and since it was a nice day out I decided to clean out the feeders and spend some time outside in the hopes that I might hear my first cranes of the year bugling overhead. No luck on the hoped for cranes, but it was a very birdy couple hours spent out in the crisp 35 F. The first birds of note were a flock of 7 White-winged Crossbills that landed in the Norway Spruces (44 total for the yard Curtis). They then flew right over us and landed in the shorter clump of Colorado Spruce right by our driveway! Dad got good looks at them and I'm fairly sure that they were his first WWCRs. Shortly thereafter 3 Common Redpolls flew over and I heard a Pine Siskin go over as well. Distant scanning of the clouds yielded a dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk (#32) slowly heading north (not a common bird in my yard, I think this was only my third sighting ever of that species...). I then decided to walk up to the corner of our field to look at the valley to the west. I had turkey in mind for this walk and sure enough, 24 Wild Turkeys (#33) were spread out along the edges of a corn field. Walking back to the house I had a pair of Mallards fly overhead (#34), I've been seeing a few along nearby Honey Creek all winter so I'm not sure if these birds were actually migrants. Final scanning of the distant horizons were revealing lots of geese on the move but too far to be able to pick out anything different. As I was turning to walk inside I heard a very high pitch fluid call note from the older willows in our woods and I turned and imitated it which brought in not one but two Brown Creepers (#35)!
Definitely a worthwhile afternoon and I was impressed with the 24 species I tallied in just a short amount of time!
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.