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.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Views from the Wasteland

Thought you guys would be interested in a few pics of my 'yard' so you can see first-hand the top-notch possibilities that come my way each and every day. Check out this action! This is the view to the north...spent a lot of time this fall looking down this street (Westhampton Drive...ha! I laugh at street names anymore these days). The great thing about our apartment (I refuse to call this place a town home) is that there are lots of windows so I can see stuff fly by quite frequently. As you can all see, there's basically NO vegetation so all I have to hope for are fly-bys. The sad thing is that I don't even have a sight-line to the retention pond to my northwest.

These are my saw-whet trees. One of these days, I will find one roosting here. No laughing!

So that's Booner's yard.


  1. Boy, you might be lucky to get Yellow-rumped there! Tough pickins. You know what you need, Booner- a nocturnal mic, as it will by far be your best way to get most warblers and thrushes and sparrows... If you want to get into it let Slager and I know (we both have them).

  2. I'm assuming that recorded noc calls don't count? I should be able to get some spring early morning fly over warbs. We'll see what happens. This is a terrible time of year for flyovers...

  3. well, maybe in your case we could allow recorded calls, haha. Or maybe if you're awake and listening to them while they occur they could count, or maybe it'd be a side list between you and DASL.

  4. How hard is to identify some of those nocturnal calls in real time? Some are distinctive I guess but are the majority distinctive enough that you could tick stuff off as they fly over? I guess if you listened to enough of them you could start doing that. Caleb? Dave? Any input on this? I also don't really have a way of getting one of these mics up on a roof top because I live on the bottom floor of a condo (don't ask...I thought condos were side by side sort of situations).

  5. Good questions. In fact, we have already worked out the "rules" as a group- and you'll note in the rightmost columns of the spreadsheet, we (DASL and I) are already keeping tabs. Here is the rule: for a nocturnally-recorded flight call to count on one's yardlist you must have confirmation that you heard the exact flight call in question, as corroborated by time of night (which DASL's script includes in the sonogram outputs). It is not necessary to identify the call when you hear it, but it is necessary to be positive you heard the call in question. So far, no yardbirds have been scored this way, but neither of us have spent too much time trying, and several recordings of candidate species (AMGP, UPSA, SOSA for DASL, GRSP for me) have overflown our yards.

    Also, as far as ID'ing the calls- many species are easy and diagnostic (BAWW, AMRE, CMWA, many others) while others are only IDable to category (double-banded upslur=BTWN, TEWA, OCWA, NAWA).

    One thing is for certain- it is just as exiting to go through a night's recording as it is to run a net lane with dozens of birds in the nets!

    Finally, Booner- you don't have to have the mic on the rooftop for it to work. The ground is fine.

  6. I'd love to start getting in to this but it's hard enough for me to find time to go birding these days. I'm still a little confused on the rules though...you're talking about hearing the call in "real time." Correct? That would mean either listening to feed from the mic or hearing a call with the naked ear and then matching up the candidate call with a time stamp on the recorded data. That the gist of it?

  7. Yeah I hear you on the birding time choice... I basically only will go out in the yard if I don't have time to go somewhere else more productive. And yes, your second hypothesis is correct, hearing a call with your naked ear and then matching the candidate call with the time stamp is agreed to be legit.

  8. Booner- that is right. In fact, just hearing the call realtime through the speaker is not enough- you must hear it with your ear (ideally, taking notes on the exact second and minute you heard it, so it can be matched up without any doubt to the timestamp on the file).

    If you were to do this, you could choose to spend an hour "yardbirding" at night rather than during the day- you will pick up all of the easy warblers, sparrows, and thrushes, as well as a few others, but it's really a matter of how much time you're willing to spend sitting in the yard listening at night. Obviously, the bigger the migration event, the more time you'd want to be out there. Let us know if you want to build it- it's about $60 to make: http://oldbird.org/mike_home.htm

  9. I'd love to take the plunge but I think I'd rather see if I can nail ticks from IDs of the more readily identifiable flight calls. Most certainly I'll be able to get SWTH and GCTH but with a bit of listening during the right conditions, I'm fairly certain that I could get BOBO, UPSA, and warbs like AMRE. We'll see how it goes.


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