Welcome to the 2013 Daily Kos Backyard Science Yardbird Race! This is our third tally diary of the year, where you can post your sightings, compare notes, and brag a bit if you wish. As always, please let me know in the comments if I missed you last time or need to make any corrections.

It's never too late to join in. Here's what you need to know:

The Daily Kos Backyard Science Yardbird Race is a birding competition where, over the course of one year, participants strive to identify the most bird species - by sight and/or by sound - from the confines of their yards.

We've set up categories so racers living in urban centers aren't competing against the lucky ones who have a waterfront view.
       ~Urban apartment or condo
        ~Urban attached (townhouse, rowhouse)
        ~Urban detached
        ~Rural <5 acres
        ~Rural >5 acres
        ~Waterfront (trumps any of the above...)
        ~Classroom Project
Classroom ProjectClassroom Project racers can list the birds that they see or hear from any place on their school grounds. I believe that we'll be hearing from the first Classroom group today. Welcome!

As always, the details and some fine print (always the fine print) can be found under the orange bird poop way below.


Our ranks are increasing. 21 racers posted lists in the last tally, and for the first time, all of the original categories were represented by at least two contestants. Ties were abundant.

Some of us are seeing signs of spring; others are still deep in winter. We'll see if those signs of spring include new sightings.    

Note that last year's racers' final 2012 counts are in parentheses after their names. They're competing against themselves this year, too.

Here we go:

1. marleycat ... MD.... 18
2. most awesome nana ... NE PA ... 16
3. cany ... Orange County CA ... 12
4. Robert Helmuth ... OK ... 11
5. oceandiver ... Lopez IS WA ... 9
6. homeschoolingmom     ... WV ... 7
7. PHScott (32) ... west of Tallahassee FL ... 6

marleycat jumped into the race and the lead last tally, squeezing out most awesome nana by two species. There are close races for third and forth here, too, with two more newcomers joining in. Welcome Robert Helmuth and homeschoolinmom! Once again, the American Crow has shown up one every of of these lists.


1. jim in IA (45) ... eastern IA ... 18
2 (tie). chantedor ... Paradise, CA ... 13
2 (tie). enhydra lutris (40) ... Castro Valley NOCA ... 13

jim in IA has taken the lead here with five more species than his western competitors. The Californians, chantedor and enhydra lutris are now tied. No birds are common to all three lists so far, but all three have some kind of Titmouse: Oak Titmouse in CA and Tufted Titmouse in IA.


1 (tie). matching mole (78) ... Tallahassee FL ... 27
1 (tie). milly watt (67) ... Olympic Peninsula WA ... 27
2. polly syllabic (100) ... Gooseville WI ... 26

In a stunning turnaround, polly syllabic, our Grand Bragging Rights Winner of 2012 and the clear leader last tally, has fallen behind her two competitors. But wait! Only by one species, and milly watt and matching mole are now tied. It's definitely a race here. One would think that there would be one bird common to winter American waterfronts, but no. However, both matching mole and milly watt have seen Bald Eagles. Polly?


1. burnt out (73)... middle MO ... 25
2. janislav ... IA ... 10

In the first of the newly competitive categories, janislav has joined in again this year to challenge burnt out. They've got a bunch of common birds on their lists so far: Dark-eyed Junco, Downy Woodpecker, Mourning Dove, Purple Finch and the ubiquitous Starling. Did I miss anything?


1. duckhunter ... location? ... 19   
2. bwren (50)... Seattle WA ... 18
3. billybush ... Omaha NE ... 8

Finally, I have some competition! duckhunter chimed in last tally to take the lead here, and billybush, while lagging right now, may very well rise to the challenge as the year progresses. He's still fighting off the squirrels at his new feeders. Crows, Juncos and House Sparrows seem to be our common birds so far.


1. Kay Observer2 ... Washington DC ... 10
2. lineatus ... San Francisco CA ... 2

Kay Observer2 is another new racer, and has taken a pretty commanding lead in this category. However, lineatus didn't post a tally last time so there's no telling what will happen by the end of today. So far these two have no common birds, perhaps not surprising so early in the year and with their location so far apart. But really, not even House Sparrows?


1. aaroninsandiego ... San Diego CA ... 3
2. youffraita ... PA... 1

Meanwhile, we've finally got two racers deep in the urban landscape, and so far, it's close. aaroninsandiego has added two species since last time, and youffraita has joined in with one - so far. I'm hoping that urban birding will be a highlight of this year's race. American Crows are the common denominator so far in this race.


Tally Updates
Be kind to your record keeper. For ease of keeping track of everyone's lists, please post your tallies in the following manner.

Your location, as close as you are comfortable revealing.
Your yard category.
Number of species seen so far, including your other tallies if you have any.
List of birds seen, dated if you wish.
Any comments you have about your sightings.

The third tally of the 2013 Backyard Science Yardbird Race is now open!


I'll be in and out all day.

The next tally will be on March 3.

Details and the fine print.

You'll be listing the number of bird species that you find from the confines of your yard between January 1 and December 31, 2013.  You can list a bird if you see or hear it while you are somewhere in your yard. If you live in an apartment or condo building your "yard" includes the property on which the building is located. Note that a "yard" includes your living quarters. So, you can list the owl that wakes you at 2am, but you can't list the Flamingo you see in your neighbor's side yard while driving home if you cannot see it from any place in your yard after you get out of your car. You can, however, walk around to your neighbor's side yard to ID a bird that you have initially seen or heard from the confines of your own yard.

You may list domestic chickens, but only as the generic "domestic chicken". Feral parrots and budgies may also be listed, but only as the generic "feral parrot". Pet birds, other captive birds and birds kept for hunting don't count.

There are no rules about ladders and fences. With the exception of utilizing recorded bird calls, which is strongly discouraged, there are also no rules about making your yard more bird-attractive than the competition's.

           Here are the yard categories:
            ~Urban apartment or condo
            ~Urban attached (townhouse, rowhouse)
            ~Urban detached
            ~Rural <5 acres
            ~Rural >5 acres
            ~Waterfront (trumps any of the above...)
            ~Classroom Project

You're on the honor system here, though I suspect we'll figure it out if you claim to have seen that Flamingo somewhere is the Pacific Northwest.

Originally posted to Backyard Science on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 08:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Birds and Birdwatching.

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