Our Farm Bird List Grows to 101!
Ever since we moved to our family farm 11 years ago, I have been doing my best to document all the species that live here or pass through.
I got a digital camera with a good zoom for Christmas of 2010, and I learned to take it with me every time I went outside. The camera allowed me to sneak up on the birds virtually, and then later I could spend a leisurely hour looking at the shots and trying to match them up to the pictures in field guides.
2010: I got a digital camera with good zoom ability.
2011: I started using eBird.
Got a total of 37 species on our farm’s list.
2012 – 2016: Added about 10 species a year (20 in 2014), bringing total to 93.
2017- 2018: Only added 2 species a year, bringing total to 97.
Last year I also added two — a Blackburnian Warbler as it migrated through, and a Brown Creeper. I didn’t get great pictures, but good enough to prove their ID. The Brown Creeper was back this November and I got better pictures, but still not great. The camera cannot distinguish between the bird and the tree bark it is on!
This year I was excited to start out the year with our 100th species, Hooded Mergansers, swimming on our pond —
— and then a few days ago, they were back!
And when I went outside to take photos of them, I noticed a flock of huge white birds flying slowly over the tree line. They were White Pelicans!
I live about 100 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, where I see pelicans all the time, but I never expected to see them here. I have seen a few pelicans inland on a lake about 40 miles away, so I knew it was possible they would be around, but it was still a very lovely surprise.
As I was looking back over my eBird records, I was struck by how spotty my records are, especially for the months of August and September. That doesn’t mean there are no birds here during those months; it just means it is too hot for me to have enthusiasm for looking around! This coming year, I am going to try to do a better job of recording my sightings regularly.