Tuesday, January 1, 2008

First Bird of 2008

Do you do this? Every year on January 1, I look outside my windows to see the first bird of the New Year. Last year, it was a Song Sparrow. This year, American Goldfinch. Points go to my sister, who predicted "some kind of finch" would be the First Bird this year. A pretty good guess, since I am having a bumper crop of both House Finches and goldfinches this year. No winter irruptives yet, but I am holding out hope for a return of Purple Finches, which I have had here only once. My rural home, a former hay field, doesn't have enough trees for Pine Siskins, redpolls or crossbills, the other boreal birds which are being spotted all over Ohio this winter.

My 2007 Birding Year in Review:

I had a Year List total of 178, compared to 180 in 2006, the first time I ever kept a Year List. Of those, 164 were Ohio birds. The only out-of-state birding I have done is a week at the New River Gorge Birding Festival in West Virginia and a day trip to Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge in Indiana.

I had 20 Life Birds in 2007, compared to 30 in 2006 and 18 in 2005. This brings my total Life List to 277. The birds and their locations were:

Feb: Long-tailed Duck (formerly "Oldsquaw"), Camp Dennison gravel pits
Feb: Merlin, Armelder Park, Cincinnati
Feb: Lapland Longspur, Armleder Park
Feb: Snow Bunting, Armleder Park

May: Spotted Sandpiper, New River, W.Va.
May: Broad-winged Hawk, New River, W.Va. (Thanks, BT3)
May: Prairie Warbler,
New River, W.Va. (ditto)
May: Canada Warbler, New River, W.Va. (ditto)
Cerulean Warbler, New River, W.Va.
May: Worm-eating Warbler, New River, W.Va.
May: Swainson's Warbler, New River, W.Va. (Thanks, Julie)
May: Black-billed Cuckoo (heard only), New River, W.Va. (saw in Sept, Magee Marsh)
May: Cliff Swallows, nesting under bridge over the Little Miami River, Cincy
May: Blue Grosbeak (a nemesis bird), Cincinnati Nature Center wetlands
May: Least Sandpiper, Killbuck, OH
May: Vesper Sparrow, Mohican State Park
May: Barn Owl, Higginsport, OH (along the Ohio River) followed by a look inside a nest box at the OOS meeting, near Mohican State Park, also in May

June: Yellow-crowned Night-Herons, nesting in Bexley, OH (Columbus suburb)

Sept: Sharp-shinned Hawk (another nemesis), Back to the Wild, Castilia, OH (free-flying, not a rescue bird)

Dec: White-winged Crossbill, Cincinnati area

What new birds have you seen this year?


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Hi Katdoc, I think you will enjoy your birding even more with keeping a list or two. Especially a year list as well as a life list. I wish I had kept better records when I first started birding. It is great fun to look at the years to see how they differ in numbers and places you travel.

My first bird of the year was a Red-breasted nuthatch coming to the feeder right outside my window.

We drove around town and got a few more annuals other than what are at our feeders today. But it was too cold to venture far. We are also having the wind and snow flurries too here in SW IN.

I only got 5 lifers this past year. Black-hooded Parakeet, Short-tailed Hawk, Florida Scrub Jay and Loggerhead Kingbird all in Florida this past March. Then we chased after the Green-breasted Mango in Wisconsin this fall. My year list was 280. Not the greatest for someone that travels occasionally but I won't complain. ;)

Happy birding and I hope you get lots of lifers this year.

Kathy said...

Kathi, that is a really nice list of birds!
This past year I submitted bird lists for the Great Backyard Bird Count weekend for the first time and purchased a book that has a place to record my bird list. So far I haven't transferred birds seen from my calendar to the book, but maybe will do that this year.
New birds seen included Cedar Waxwing, Northern Shrike, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Downey Woodpecker, Brewer's Blackbird, House Wren and Common Nighthawk. I saw some others that I couldn't identify for sure, since I'm a novice bird watcher. I still don't know if it is Cooper's or Sharp-shinned hawk that terrorizes the birds in my yard, or maybe both do.

beth said...

My first bird of the new year was a rock dove (pigeon). Second were house sparrows. Ah well, not surprising for the big city...

KatDoc said...


As well as a Life List, I have an Ohio list, a Yard List, a Year List, and a list of all the birds I have seen nesting, including birds carrying nesting material, building their nests, or active nests with eggs or young.


I'm jealous of your shrike, one I don't have yet.

Before too long, start getting your list down in some sort of organized fashion. When I finally transferred my list from ticks in my field guide to an actual list, I had lost a lot of data. Now, I write down when and where I see a new bird, and sometimes I add notes if I saw it nesting, or if I saw it with someone special.

Sharpie versus Cooper's is a tough ID to make. Everyone will tell you that Sharpies are smaller, but if they don't perch next to a Coop, that is a real judgement call. Here are some tips I use to help sort it out: Cooper's Hawk is larger (Crow-sized), has a rounded tail ("C" shape at the tip), and when it flies, it beats its wings slow enough to Count. (Use the "C" as a memnonic.) Sharpie is Smaller, has a Square tail, and when it flies, it beats its wings too fast to count. (The "S" works for the first two hints, but not for the last one.)


Every bird counts, even if it is "just" a pigeon or HOSP. Keep looking up!


Mary said...

Silly me I did not keep a list - but I had many lifers as a beginner birder.

This year (this morning), my first bird was a lifer - a white breasted nuthatch with the scissor bill.

Your list is impressive :o)

Kathie said...

No new lifers for me this year yet, but I did get two lifers on the last day of 2007: a Gray hawk at Buenos Aries NWR in Arivaca, AZ and a white-throated swift! I just moved to Tucson last March and I am keeping a list of all the birds I see in Sycamore Canyon where I live. I just added #42, a burrowing owl on January 3, 2008!