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Yesterday's count, in the morning hours before I left for the JazzerThon. 12 species:
Mourning Dove - 2
Downy Woodpecker - 1
Carolina Chickadee - 1
Tufted Titmouse - 1
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1
Brown-headed Nuthatch - 1
Carolina Wren - 1
Northern Mockingbird - 1
Dark-eyed Junco - 4
Northern Cardinal - 2
House Finch - 6
American Goldfinch - 2


Today I observed most of the day, either from the kitchen eating area looking at the front yard feeders, or from the computer desk where movement at the backyard feeders often catches my eye. 18 species:
Mourning Dove - 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker - 1
Downy Woodpecker - 1
Carolina Chickadee - 1
Tufted Titmouse - 1
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1
Brown-headed Nuthatch - 1
Carolina Wren - 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 1
Eastern Bluebird - 2
Hermit Thrush - 1
Pine Warbler - 1
Song Sparrow - 1
White-throated Sparrow - 1
Dark-eyed Junco - 5
Northern Cardinal - 2
House Finch - 6
American Goldfinch - 7

Three of these are new-to-me species, and I'm a little tentative on all of them--on anything but a slam-dunk ID, I always wish I had an experienced birder at my shoulder who could confirm my work. The ruby-crowned kinglet I'm fairly sure of, because I don't see another option for a very small gray bird with a red stripe/crown. The next-least-certain is the hermit thrush--the key says the tail is reddish, but I didn't notice it as different from the brown back. Body shape and beak look right for a thrush.

Least certain is the pine warbler. Off and on all day I saw a bright yellow bird, too large for a goldfinch in early mating plumage and with a slender beak instead of the finch's conical one. I got lost in the warbler pages every time I tried to work out what it was--and of course, the bird would also flit away leaving me without a reference. Cruising over the GBBC report for Decatur shows that only 2 warblers have been reported, and only the pine warbler could be my bird (and it was on a number of lists). I decided I was sure enough of it to include it on my report.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
mmegaera
Feb. 19th, 2008 07:03 am (UTC)
I envy you your tufted titmice and cardinals. One of the few things I miss from when I lived east of the Mississippi.
kk1raven
Feb. 22nd, 2008 11:26 pm (UTC)
If you saw the red stripe on the kinglet, there really isn't anything else it could be unless someone has been releasing non-native birds near your yard. Hermit Thrushes can vary a fair amount in color and the difference between the body color and the tail color isn't always obvious unless you get a really good look in good lighting. The other similar thrushes aren't likely to be in this country at this time of year. The yellow bird is less certain. People don't normally describe them as being larger than a goldfinch. Was it really noticably larger? They are very slightly longer than a goldfinch on average but they're less bulky in appearance, weigh less and their wingspan is a bit shorter. If it was a warbler and was mostly yellow, Pine Warbler would be the likely one at this time of year. Yellow-rumped and Pine are the two warblers that typically stay in the eastern US north of south Florida in the winter. You're far enough south that you could get some other less common warbler in winter though. Other than a Yellow-breasted Chat, the others are not particularly larger than a goldfinch either though. Could it have been an oriole? Baltimore Orioles are increasingly being found during winter even this far north and it is typically the younger ones that are seen rather than the brighter orange adult males. I saw a couple of them when I was in Georgia at Christmas.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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Nancy Barber

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