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.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Surprise Jan Yardbird...Peregrine Falcon!

I spent a half hour out exploring the newly flooded greens outside my apartment and picked up 5 yard year birds. The highlight however was an incredibly low flyover of a PEFA (less than 40 feet overhead) that cruised down the course (yardbird 74). The 52 Mallards were all dabbling in the newly exposed fluddles. Here's my eBird list (year birds italicized):

Cackling Goose (Richardson's) 2 (a real yearbird for me)
Canada Goose 321
Mallard 52
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Peregrine Falcon 1
Ring-billed Gull 1

Herring Gull (American) 22 (steady stream of gulls flying over to the west)
Mourning Dove 6
European Starling 8
American Tree Sparrow 9
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) 4
Northern Cardinal 2
House Finch 2
American Goldfinch 2
House Sparrow 6


  1. I wish I had a golf course for a yard. Do you have sightlines right to the greens?

  2. Well yes since my "yard" is actually a rather arbitrary ~1 acre plot about a stones throw away from my actual apartment which is surrounded by parking lots and other apartment complexes. See my two initial posts on this:


    I looked at your imagery, and I see no problem with you adapting this to your apartment situation. I think that including the adjacent pond would work fine (total area of ~1 acre) and give you some sightlines at the very least. Do others have issues with this for those of us who are locked in suburban jungle?

  3. I'm fine with it. I think those of us with actual yards are just stuck with what we got( and the line of sight too)

  4. Go for it. You apt/condo dwellers need all the help you can get!

  5. yeah, no biggie, I'd even be willing to give you urbanites the block you live in. but you know, we gotta draw the line someplace I guess. Where do you think we should?

  6. Well before good ole Ben showed up with his 50 acre spread, the average lot size was around an acre, so that's what we used to determine it. I'm fine with an acre, we don't want Curtis or Caleb to start whining too much...

  7. Curtis has nothing to whine about- his "lot" (=a several stroke handicap for his birding impairment) is over 2 acres. I think the smallest lots are me (0.6 acre), Booner, Haasienda, Kaplan and Huffer, all of which are less than 1 acre.

    I also have been wondering if allowing Warndog to utilize 50 acres is just a tad unfair, and if we could limit his yarbdird tallying to a similar plot size as the rest of us? I'm even willing to give him as big a lot as the second biggest person- which I think would be Rick at 6 acres (right BigRig?)? Thoughts? (translation: I am sick of being smashed by Sean's 75acre yard in WI and don't want it to happen again!)

  8. yeah, I don't know. When you get down to it this isn't a fair competition no matter how you slice it. My yard will always be in better habitat than Booner's. Its not really going to even the playing field. The only real way to do that is to select yards that are equal size and about equal in geo-location or to all live on the same piece of land. Personally, I like the excuse to get out and bird the land where I live, and even when I do that I don't hit all 50 acres, only about 30 or so. Also, I hate counting things, so it'd just be plain mean to make me go and re-count all my birds restricted to a six acre plot. haha. Anyways, I think that the point of this blog is to get out and bird, then have some fun with it. Its not really about what is fair. I know that this is biased, but yeah, that is my point.

  9. And due to the bitching, I went looked over my list. As of right now anyways for the year list, restricting me to only the six acres around my house would only remove 2 birds from the list.

  10. I hear ya, and think you're probably right that it's more about the motive to get outside near the hosue. But it does lead me to ask: if, as appears very likely, I get permission from my neighbor to bird on his 100+ acres of forest and field along the Rogue River (directly east of my house from 100 yds to 1/3 mile), why couldn't I include that in this yardlist? Similarly, Sean could be given the entire golf course, and Slags the Oletangy riverbank, Booner- the nearest habitat patch (unless one truly doesn't exist!), etc.

    Now, I am sure somebody has an opinion about all this?!?

  11. Well, I have free access to the lovely lands on all sides which add up to some 400 acres... and I'd love to add the more primo woodland and wetland hab. just next door. But that'd just be ridiculous and not my yard, at all.

  12. on the other hand, Slaggy and Boone et. al., could use the help and, that area near Slag is pretty close. I don't know. Maybe they could use it if its within 5 min. walking distance? Or maybe they could pick an acre of land that they can walk to in that time? Maybe they could stop watching re-runs of Sex in the City and go birding for a change? All good questions.

  13. Oh, everyone needs to quit their whining- Life just ain't fair! just listen to NPR for a few minutes

    I've got a very small yard, Ben has a very large yard, it's why he's so popular with the....birdies

    We have the cards we were dealt so be it!

  14. It's why beating you all with my tiny yard is going to be sooooo satisfying!

    Ps. Just saw a White-fronted Goose on Superior! Man spring comes earlier every year!

  15. Yeah it's pretty remarkable to me how cutting edge those gwfg are on the cusp of the slightest sign of spring. There were several that moved in near the WI/IL stateline on Lk Michigan yesterday (via IBET). The geese I had on the move (CACG esp) I suspect had moved north at least a hundred miles as I haven't seen a cackler around here since Dec 20 (right before it got nasty cold and the snow cover increased). But damn, on Lk Superior in Jan is just plain ridic.

    Regarding the bitching and moaning. I don't really care. I've got a good acre or so patch that's relatively close to my apt. It doesn't mean I don't bird the rest of the golf course when I'm out. Just restricts what is on the "yardlist". Whatever everyone agrees upon is fine with me. But if it gets too far away it should be a local patch competition...

  16. Oh I'm sorry, my post was partially misfired. I think Fitz and Boone have the right for the apartment complication and whats been worked out for them. its everyone else that needs to stop! Hah!

  17. Hey Fitz, check it out if you like

  18. Yeah I agree with Dave, the sliding scale or rarity becomes much greater with a more restricted and sub-par yard. Your waterthrush example is good, totally expected in Ben, Rick, or my old yard. Great in your yard, and something Aer Lingus and Ryanair would be thanking Harry for over in Ireland!

  19. I have a suggestion. Maybe we ought to elect a neutral representative to visit each yard and write a proposal with options on how to proceed to make this fair...
    REALLY GUYS! This whole thing has the potential of getting way out of hand and of making what's fun, not fun. I'm in agreement with Dave too. I hope that we can trust each other for what we choose as "our yard"...we trust the legitimacy of each other's sightings...(or DO we!....and Caleb, you may NOT reply with any snide comments to this). I also think it's fun when us city slickers can get stuff like Rock Pigeon and counry boy Caleb can't.

  20. I'd agree too except if I get a waterthrush I will be excited because I actually have never seen one along the creek ever. I know, I am a loser. I should have a much higher yard list than I do, I spend most of my time during migration hitting warbler hotspots (and drinking in front of the TV) and my yard isn't one, mostly because its not a migrant trap sort of situation. I actually have to work a little to get warblers. But yeah, it would've been a good example. If I wasn't a poor excuse for a birder, thanks for pointing that out DASL.

  21. you know, I have similar problems with yard birding at my place. I'll look out the window and see a Wilson's Warbler in the hedge and think "Man, whats down along the lakeshore?"
    And off I go. And for me Along the Lakeshore means both Superior and Michigan. Topside or bottom-side? Always the question I ask myself as I start the day anew.

  22. Curtis: "Just trust me with the legitimacy of my yard! C'mon guys". This coming from the guy who counts 2 acres of wooded habitat which is not a part of his yard as part of his yard. Predictable...

    I'll take what I've got here and agree to allow Warndog his 50 acres. But I do plan to make full use of the mic this spring, including nocturnal stuff, so get ready chumpz.

    Also, Ben- could you provide us an aerial map of your property and a few photos taken from your habitat?

  23. Phew. Is this settled? Boones Farm gets more acreage? That's alright with me.

    Any chance that there might be some shiny new faces put up on the header to go along with all these names and numbers?

  24. Yes, Slogger, 30 kind of pulls at the strings of my obsessive compulsiveness, as well.

  25. Nice header Putz. Now can we get the footer/playing field updated with Warnster, Bonedog, and Chainsaw Joe?


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