Although today is the official start date, I won't be starting my counting until Tuesday. I've decided to count on Tuesdays and Wednesdays since the odds of me being around are much higher than the weekends. Plus, it will be good motivation to get up early to watch the feeder before work (and start my day earlier on Tuesdays and Wednesdays). With the time change, it's actually daylight when I get up now so it shouldn't be too hard.
This morning I went out back for a practice run. I knew there would be a lot of birds since I had been hearing them outside starting around 7am. The feeders were in rough shape (the smaller one was empty, and the long tube one only had seed at the very bottom and it was difficult to get at).
That didn't bother the birds though—the yard was teeming with groups of dark eye-juncos, titmice, and Carolina wrens. I was most excited about the Carolina wrens since I find that they're usually pretty shy. The video I got of the Carolina wren's song at my parents' house on the Cape shows just how hard they can be to capture- they're constantly flitting around. I also had never observed more than two at a time. As you can imagine, their activity this morning caught me entirely off-guard. I counted about 7 max. at one time. They were hanging out in the maple tree right outside my bedroom window. I usually only see them in low brush. Even stranger, one at a time, a few of the boldest ones visited the tube feeder! Ironically, the Project FeederWatch site features an image of a Carolina Wren at a feeder, so I guess it's not as rare as I thought:
Here is my official count from my time out there this morning:
Blue Jay - 3
Northern Cardinal - 2*
Tufted Titmouse - 4
Dark-eyed Junco - 8
Carolina Wren - 7
White-breasted Nuthatch - 2
House Sparrow - 8
Song Sparrow - 1
American Robin - 3
Black-capped Chickadee - 2
I'm also supposed to record temperature and precipitation. I didn't really pay close attention to it this morning, but I do know it's not raining and it's 63 degrees. I'll have to pay closer attention to that on Tuesday.
*According to the data collection rules, males and females must be counted separately even if they are sexually dimorphic (males and females look different). They can only be counted as 2 if they are both seen at the same time. In my case I had a male and female pair on the feeder tree at the same time.
Here are some pictures from this morning.