Since today was lovely, I went out and did some feeder maintenance and filled everything before next week’s Great Backyard Bird Count.
If you want to do something fun with your family or friends, try and spend just a little time between the 15th and 18th counting the birds you see in your yard, or in a public area near you. It is simple to do, and you don’t need to be an experienced birder. The count had over 100,000 participants last year. Many from this area. In Maryland alone, there were over 2000 checklists submitted. Quite a few from Howard County. Ellicott City and Columbia led the county in participants with 83 lists from each area.
I watch right out my kitchen window for a few hours on one of the days and put in my totals. Since I have a habitat established with regular visitors, I know I will have certain times of the day with dozens of birds popping in to get food and water.
Today was no exception. I had three downy woodpeckers, all female, out there at the same time.
Don’t know where the males were today, but the females kept coming back. I also put peanuts in the shell out there today to check out the blue jays. I had at least six between those on the ground and in the trees. They are a riot to watch, as they go looking for the biggest and heaviest peanuts. Last year there were fewer blue jays reported. Including by me. This year they are back.
Of course, with peanuts out there, at some point the squirrel showed up and the blue jays had to go into overdrive to get the lion’s share of the peanuts.
Today also brought the return of the female red bellied woodpecker. We haven’t seen her around here much lately. Just the male, but out of nowhere she showed up to grab peanuts herself.
At one point, the nuthatch joined the party. Here a young downy and the nuthatch are enjoying the new food.
And, just to show that sometimes they do tolerate each other, I leave you with a photo worthy of submitting for the Conservancy program on unlikely friendships. Animal photos of unlikely pairings of animals. That event is on the 24th of February. Another family activity coming up in the next few weeks in the area.
Peaceful coexistence. Unusual for them. If you can, make time to count birds next weekend in Howard County. Let’s help Cornell and the Audubon Society keep tabs on where the birds are located by creating our own “census”.