New Year’s Day Bird Feeder Count

In our area we count bird around bird feeders on January 1.  That works really well for me — in neighbouring Victoria, they do it Christmas Day, which seems like a poor time since most people — at least any with children — have better things to watch on Christmas morning.  Still, I suppose that if you can get the present-unwrapping done early, you could then make it a family challenge to see what can be seen.

Anyway, this year it was a beautiful sunny day, although at about -4 C it was chilly for our area and the fluffed-up birds showed that.  I got some good pictures, some of which I have posted on my Flickr site — or use the links below to see individual birds.

Sky the cat helping me with the New Years Day bird feeder count  :-)

Sky the cat helping me with the New Years Day bird feeder count 🙂

Besides my husband, and occasionally ou son, our cat, Sky, also watched the bird feeder  :-).  We are lucky in that while Sky loves to watch the birds, he really isn’t into hunting.

As usual, the first birds out were the chestnut-backed chickadees.   They are one of my favourite birds, both for their cheeful calls and for their personalities.  I find it astonishing how unafraid of people they are.  Many times there will be a chickadee less that two feet from me, making “hurry-up”-sounding comments while I am filling the bird feeder.  I have even had them land on the feeder as I am lifting it up to the hook it hangs on.

Birds on the patio with the temporary brush pile.

The dark-eyed juncos and the fox sparrows were also out early.  I scattered extra seed on the patio to make it easier to count and the juncos and fox sparrows, being ground-feeders by choice, took full advantage.  The spotted towhees also appreciated the convenience.

In recent weeks we have had a flock of evening grosbeaks coming through our yard about once a day, usually about noon, although we sometimes saw them other times as well.  We had hoped to see them during bird-count day, but in the end, we only saw one female.  I guess they found enough food elsewhere.

In the end we saw mostly the same as last year, but more fox sparrows, thanks to our unofficial brush pile, and with the addition of the evening grosbeak.

1 – Bewick’s Wren, 1 Brown Creeper, 5 Chestnut-backed Chickadees (although there were probably more but the most we saw at one time was 5), 3 Ravens flying overhead, 13 dark-eyed Juncos (again, probably more), 2 Downy Woodpeckers (our resident pair), 3 Fox Sparrows (I think there are actually 4 living here), 2 Glaucous-winged Gulls flying up-river), 1 Hairy Woodpecker (our resident female), 6 House Finches (three males and three females — our resident ones, including the gold-coloured male), 1 Northern Flicker (our resident female), 2 Red-breasted Nuthatches (our resident pair), 1 Song Sparrow (could have been two but we only saw one at a time), 4 Spotted Towhees (could have been more), 1 Steller’s Jay, 1 Varied Thrush.  We also saw a Bald Eagle and a Great Blue Heron flying by.  And, of course, 1 Evening Grosbeak female although the flock has closer to ten birds of both genders in it.

The bird count people also requested that we count Eastern Grey Squirrels, and we reported 4, although the grey-coloured one did not appear, so we probably have at least 5.

Morning sky through our Garry Oaks


End of the day



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