01 March 2013

2012-2013 Winter Feeder Count Results

As we have in 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, and 2011-2012, Lindsay and I participated in the Indiana Audubon Society Winter Feeder Bird Count this past November through February.  This count is conducted on the 20th to 25th of November, December, January, and February at feeders throughout the state.

Various feeder birds, including Northern Cardinal, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-winged Blackbird, and American Tree Sparrow
We haven't been able to match the numbers we had in 2008-2009, when we had 19 species in November, 20 species in December, 18 species in January, and 25 species in February, for a total of  27 species during the count.  Our species numbers during the 2012-2013 count were similar to the past four years, however.  We had 17 species in November, 16 species in December, 15 species in January, and 19 species in February; over the past four years of the count, we've never had less than 15 species or more than 19 species during one of the count periods.  We tallied 23 species at our feeders during the count periods in 2012-2013, the second most that we've had during the last five years.  Our complete list is included at the end of this post.

Male Downy Woodpecker
Species observed most frequently (those present during all four count periods) in 2012-2013 were Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura), Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus), Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens), Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata), Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus), Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor), White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis), European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea), Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis), Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis), and House Sparrow (Passer domesticus). Species observed in greatest abundance during a single count period (with the greatest number observed at one time in parentheses) were House Sparrow (31 in December, 13 in January), American Tree Sparrow (16 in February), Dark-eyed Junco (15 in January), Mourning Dove (14 in January), European Starling (13 in December), and American Goldfinch (13 in November). The most abundant species based on average over the four count periods were House Sparrow (14.25), American Tree Sparrow (10.25), Northern Cardinal (9.0), and Mourning Dove (8.5).  Numbers of individuals were down substantially from last year, when we had four species that averaged over 10 individuals over the count period.  The most notable observation that we made this year was a lack of White-crowned Sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys).  During the 2012-2013 count, we only had one White-crowned Sparrow during one of the count periods (November).  The number of individuals of this species seems to have been decreasing at our feeders each year.  In 2011-2012, we had one individual during each of the four count periods; in 2008-2009, we had 7 individuals in November, 2 individuals in December, 2 individuals in January, and 1 individual in February.

Female Hairy Woodpecker
Although overall it has been another mild winter, the temperature range during the count period was comparable to that in previous years, with a low temperature of 4 degrees Fahrenheit in January and a high temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit in November.  However, the most snow cover that we had at any time during the 2012-2013 count was 3 inches.

2012-2013 Winter Bird Feeder Count Species List
Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)
Blue Jay
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
European Starling
Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)
American Tree Sparrow
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)
House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)
Pine Siskin (Carduelis pinus)
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow


Beth said...

Due to being busy with a photo book I'm working on, I wasn't able to do the count this year. :( I hope to join in next year, though!

Scott Namestnik said...

Hope you're able to, Beth. These citizen science projects are a great way to get involved and collect data that are used in a variety of ways.

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