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.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Seasonal/vagrant rarities comp.

As much as I'd like to throw you guys a bone, Fox Sparrow is not as rare as RBGR or SAVS. If you view the regional bar graphs for each respective species in both MI and in OH you'll see this is true. What you do, for those not in the know, is you sign into eBird and then click the explore data tab, second on the list is "Bar Charts" and then you can select the state or region you would like a list of bar charts for. Next scroll down until you find the species you want to look up. Its a pretty nifty feature. If you want to say "well, for YOUR yard Ben, those species aren't so rare" that argument doesn't really hold up either since I've had several Fox Sparrows this time of year, but never RBGR or SAVS before, and this data is supported by the bar graphs/charts. Good Birding! Later today I hope to post the habitat pics of the yard. First some feeder watching and then some Skiing, then its time to go to work, working nights is better for yard-birding I've decided.


  1. Feel Free to vote here in the comments about which is more rare, if you really want Foxy to be rarer than my birds then go for it, you'll be wrong... but I don't really care that much.

  2. Personally I think stuff like Cackling Goose, Merlin, Peregrine, Shrike, are all in the running for yard rarities, and are perhaps better birds than my rare stuff. perhaps, not sure, it is kind of hard to judge. I have never had any of these sp. for my yard.

  3. No, but you are an ebird whore/loser. I'm one too, just to a much lesser degree.

  4. E-birding is (sadly)like crack- you get a short nazi-bitch rush then you crave more.

    Just say no to Ebird

  5. Wait how is Kaplan in both the NLP and UP?? Are you in a house boat!?? I think that the date and region have to be looked at. FOSP in the UP in winter has got to be quite a bit rarer than in the LP Ben. You really should do bar graphs of the UP subregion "Boreal Hardwood Transition". Then you will see that Joe is forging is own line as there aren't records past the first week of Jan at all over the last 100 years of (albeit very sparse coverage/eBird usage, *cough Skye*).

  6. My CACG in late January is fairly notable (only bc of the date), but again, this far west CACG are all over the place (Had multiple flocks of 70+ in the golf course/yard this fall). I think my PEFA is more noteworthy just because of the low density of that species in winter and the total lack of suitable buildings for it to be hanging out around this time of year. Dave's NOMO may be worthy? I don't think NSHR is that noteworthy in the UP (Altho a Feb BUFF up there over the yard isn't bad!)... These are just my opinions on the matter... What to others think?

  7. Yeah, I guess I forgot how west you were Fitzzy. And I guess Since Crazy Swamp Kitty forgot if he lives in the LP or the UP, I was unable to create the best bar chart. Dave's NOMO is not worthy, that thing lives around the city and there are lots of them all around C-bus. Yeah, NSHR isn't that rare in the UP but having one in your yard is cool, just doesn't really count as a rarity I guess.

  8. So, anyways, Fox is better than my SAVS for UP, but not sure if its better than a RBGR, thats tough to really decide, I'm pretty certain that OH has never had RBGR in Dec. or Jan.

  9. Oh no doubt RBGR is the best yardbird to date of any of us. No contest.

  10. No house boat, I put NLP & UP for a regional rarity context for Fox Sparrow, which is not known to occur in Feb. If it's just the UP Fox Sparrow is completely absent from mid-Nov onward. This according to the published Status and Occurrence of Michigan Birds in A Birders Guide to Michigan. The bar graphs were complied by Adam Byrne from all available records from from 1993-2002.

    That said, I know of four winter records of Fox Sparrows in the UP (all but 1 since 2002) with only 1 in late winter (3 from the Keweenaw and 1 earlier this season from Manistique). Skye, any others come to mind?

    The same Michigan bar graphs shows a short Jan blip for Rose-breasted Grosbeak -- but that's it for ALL of Michigan. I personally know of 4 winter records for this beast in the UP ( 3 in the Keweenaw and 1 at Whitefish Point). My memory is by no means encyclopedic but if RBGR and FOSP went head-to-head in the UP it would be a coin flip, though personally I'd take a wintering RBGR. Oh but wait, this isn't about me.... we are comparing a Feb UP FOSP to a January Ohio Grosbeak; 430 miles, a month, and 3 USDA hardiness zones away.

    Taking a look at the searchable CBC data for Ohio and indeed RBGR is a rare bird -- 5 total (compared to a healthy 32 from Michigan).

    Savannah Sparrow too numerous to count on the Ohio CBC...though it would take the prize in the UP!

  11. PEFA is a good yardbird for Sean. NOMO is a trashbird for Slaggs. And as much as I hate to admit it, RBGR is best yardbird so far.

  12. ok punks, get your rarities straight.

    Fox Sparrow in the UP, particularly post new years is the rarest bird in all our yards. This is an unprecedented year for Fox Sparrows in the UP with 3 january reports. Beyond that, I can only think of the keweenaw reports and bird I had in mid December in Marquette (out in the woods away from a feeder no less!)

    RB Gross has had quite a few UP reports over the last decade. I believe it has only been missed 1 out of the last 5 years in the Yoop.

    And yes Ben, I do get style points for having a shrike in the yard, but that is annual for me (as is Cackling Goose {flyover}).Furthermore Fitz-bew is right CACG needs to be place in the context of if one is west of Lake MI, it becomes a lot more common.
    Stuff like Bohemian Waxwing, Pine Gross are all cool, but not rare for me.

    January Merlin in the UP gets its props, though I rate the Foxy Sp. better. Honestly for me, I think Bufflehead is my surprise for the winter list so far- though I would rate Merlin rarer.

    I'm going to wrap up for now and fantasy about a Mocker at my suet feeder. Oh did I mention, there was a Sage Thrasher about 5 blocks west of me a few years back ago.......

  13. might I add, we are playing a very dangerous game here. The only reason Kaplan suggested this add-on is due to his amazing track record of getting vagrants in his yard. With 2 years time he had both Bullock's Oriole and Townsend's Warbler (yah you heard me Putnut) in his yard......

    oye vey!

  14. I'll have to find a national vagrant to have any chance here: Ireland's first Black-throated Thrush didn't oblige by turning up in my garden a few weeks back (indeed, none were found anywhere in Ireland, but, with the number found in Britain, and a huge influx of thrushes, at least one must have made landfall), so perhaps a Slate-coloured Junco in April or May? That species has often turned up in gardens in the WP...


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