Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Yard Bird Number 50

Just for fun (and because I've never bothered to write it down before), I finally started a list of birds seen in my yard. We've lived at this place since 1988 and for all those years I've been trying to turn a farm field into a backyard wildlife habitat. Every year things are looking better and better and we now have plenty of mature trees and areas of dense cover from shrubs, wildflowers, and evergreens.

One of the reasons I decided to start a yard list was that I participated in the Project FeederWatch last winter, so there were a whole bunch of birds that I had already documented. It was amazing to me that on any given day during the winter, I was able to spot at least 14 different species of birds in my backyard.

Juvenile Cedar Waxwing in crabapple tree outside my dining room window.

I'm fortunate to have a backyard that's larger than most people's, thereby increasing my chances at seeing a variety of different birds. My outstanding sightings for this year so far have been a Killdeer, Red-Tailed Hawk, and just last week a Long-Eared Owl (which woke me up about 11:15 at night with it's loud cries) and I wouldn't have seen without the aide of my handheld spotlight!

Today, while walking the dogs around the backyard, I was thrilled to spot Yard Bird Number 50: Golden-Crowned Kinglet. I thought I recognized the little chirps and could see tiny birds flitting about in the evergreens, so I went back to the house for my binoculars and sure enough, I managed to catch a glimpse of this little feathered beauty. Now if you think chickadees move fast, they ain't got nothin' on a golden-crowned kinglet!

Needless to say, there was no way I would be able to get a photo, so to see pictures and learn more about the Golden-Crowned Kinglet, please click on this link for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Update on Mom: We got back from the hospital a short while ago. Mom's doing well, although the pain was starting to overcome the medication they were giving her to help with pain. She watched "Deal or No Deal" with us and then was starting to look pretty tired, so we decided it was time to go. They will be getting her out of bed tomorrow already.


Maud said...

Congratulations on number 50! And get-well wishes to your Mum!

Trixie said...

Thank you for the mom update. She's been in my thoughts all day!

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

I appreciate the mom updates. Hospitals are amazing about getting people right up these days, aren't they? Best wishes to her, Ruthie.

I am amazed that you have spotted 50 yard birds. I started my own list but don't even have half of that. In fact, I've been wondering where the heck they have all gone. We don't have nearly the traffic I seem to recall from last fall. I even emptied and cleaned the feeders and filled it with premium seed to see if that would do the trick. Seems strange...

--Robin (Bumblebee

Lynne said...

I'm glad to hear surgery went well for your Mom. Say Hi to Betty for me.

I've had Golden-crowned Kinglets in the back yard too. Aren't they twitchy? Awefully cute though, I saw them described as flying mice.

Mary said...

Glad you Mom is well, Ruthie. The pain will be something to deal with, for sure, but she won't regret the surgery.

You are inspiring me to make a list of the birds in my back yard. My 1/3 acre doesn't bring much to view, but I really should make a list. And a life list. You have 50!

I saw a ruby crowned kinglet once and managed to get a photo in low light - all you can see is the bright ruby crown. Then, poof, he was gone. Fast!

Jayne said...

So glad to hear your mom's surgery went well Ruthie. :c) They do get them up and going pretty fast these days.

I've never seen a kinglet, and 50 birds is a nice yard list! I think I have around 35 or so now.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Maud,
Thank you. I'm glad #50 was something unique like a kinglet. I guess really all birds are unique, but we only have kinglets during migration, so I was happy to be "at the right place at the right time." I'll relay your wishes to Mom later tonight.

Hi Trixie,
Thanks for your thoughts. I'll share them with Mom later when I see her.

Hi Robin,
Thanks for your wishes, I'll be sure to share them with Mom.

I went through a while several weeks ago when there weren't too many birds either. I'm not sure if it was the heat or they were finding enough natural food or the hawk was spending a lot of time in the's hard to know sometimes, but they should be back soon and hopefully your squirrels won't get the premium seed in the meantime!

Hi Lynne,
I'll be sure to share your thoughts with Mom.

I did manage to get one full-on face view of the kinglet--so adorable. And that golden crown was just brilliant even though it wasn't sunny.

Hi Mary,
I hope Mom's feeling pretty good when I stop by with her birthday cake later on this evening.

I know lots of people who have kept yard lists for years, but I guess it just never occurred to me to try it before this year. I bet you'd be surprised how quickly the birds will add up once you start keeping a list (and start your life list before your birding trip this weekend so you can add all the new ones you'll see!)

Hi Jayne,
Thanks for your thoughts. 35 is a pretty good number of birds for just your yard also--plus you get those really amazing birds like indigo bunting and summer tanager!

mon@rch said...

Kinglets are soo cute and congrats on a great yard bird! Also happy to hear your mom is doing good!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mon@rch,
I too was excited to see kinglets.

I'm getting behind in my blog visits, but I printed out some of my blogs and everyone's comments to share with Mom in the hospital. She really enjoyed hearing from everyone.

KGMom said...

I will be interested to hear how your mom makes out when she is up and walking.
Good news all around.

Larry said...

You get some great yardbirds, and 50 already.It took me a couple of years to get to 50!