February was definitely the Month of the Hawks in my backyard. Of the 29 days in the month this year I counted a red-tailed hawk in the yard on 9 days. I saw the bird there so many times that I soon tired of taking pictures of it!
While the red-tailed hawk seemed to help keep the gray squirrels away…
…the arrival of this Cooper’s Hawk scared off all my little songbirds. Up until this bird showed up I was seeing 20 to 30 House sparrows a day and numerous other songbirds. On the first day of the GBBC I counted 20 species in my yard! After this Cooper’s caught and killed at least one if not more birds in my yard my counts have definitely dropped off. I am back to counting 9 to 10 species a day and often less. The birds are skittish now and do not hang around for long and they fly away at the slightest movement. For many days I did not even see even one House Sparrow. With snow from yesterday’s storm still covering the ground today I saw about 6 House Sparrows along with a cardinal, juncos, chickadees, downy woodpeckers, mourning doves, and white-throated sparrows.
While February was the month of the Great Backyard Bird Count, I also managed to count birds in 2 other New England States. Since I take frequent trips to Connecticut to visit family, this is not hard, and since I only live 5 miles from New Hampshire and often drive there to shop, it is not hard to go birding there either. I make it a point to count the birds in the parking lots of the mall and the department stores while I am there as well as stopping at the Geremonty Marsh when I can. I usually go to Maine at least once a month also to visit Gus’ family but this month I was a bit busy with my Mom and did not go with Gus when he went, so, no bird counts form there!
Seeing these robins in Sacred Heart Park certainly gives me hope for the arrival of spring, but what is really telling is the arrival of Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles! I saw my both species at the bog for the first time this year on February 29th. Last year I did not count them in my neighborhood until March 18th for the grackle and March 20th for the Red-winged Blackbird! By reporting all my counts to eBird I am able to track this data whenever I want to because eBird keeps track of all my bird lists for me. My bird counts also help the scientists and the birds. As the community of eBirders continues to grow, I hope you will consider counting birds in your backyard or favorite patch as well! To learn how, just click on the link: About eBird.
Here are my eBird stats for the Month of February
Sometime soon I am hoping to add Vermont to this list!