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Welcome to the 2012 Daily Kos Backyard Science Yardbird Race!  This is our second tally diary, where you can post your sightings, compare notes, and brag a bit if you wish.

It's not too late to join the race. 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 yard. More details and some fine print can be found at the end of this post.

As of the first of the year we've got 11 racers competing in 4 categories and 2 racers who haven't claimed a category yet.

In the SUBURBAN category, Enhydra Lutris (Castro Valley CA) is out in front with 18 species, a fine start. MadMs (Waunakee WI) and sanfernandovalleymom (Los Angeles CA) are neck and neck in second place with 8 and 7 species respectively. Way back, but still enthusiastic, is sallycat (NOCA), with 1 species, but a good one, a Cooper's Hawk. She even got a picture.

In the URBAN DETACHED category dabug (Berkeley CA) and bwren (Seattle WA) are tied with 11 species each. SNFinVA (Richmond VA) is in second with 7.

Remember, WATERFRONT trumps all of the categories. It doesn't matter if you live in a garret or a mansion, if you're on the water you're part of the Waterfront crew. polly syllabic (SE Wisconsin) is way out ahead in this category (and overall), with an amazing 21 species. matching mole (Talahassee FL) is halfway back with 11 and milly watt (Olympic Peninsula WA) is bringing up the rear with 7 species, though gets style points for a photo of a first-of-the-year Townsend's Warbler.

lineatus (San Francisco CA) is the only competitor so far in the URBAN ATTACHED category, with 11 species. There's definitely room for competition here, though her Peregrine Falcon might be one for the records. Jump in please!

This leaves the two competitors who haven't yet claimed a category: buddabelly (southwest of Tucson AZ) and jim in IA (eastern IA). buddabelly is in the lead here, with 8 species including a Lecontes Thrasher. jim in IA was handicapped by a windstorm but got to claim a Domestic Chicken as part of his 4 species. You can too, if  you can see or hear chickens from your yard. buddabelly and jim in IA, please claim a category!

Please correct me if I've missed anything.

Three categories have yet to be claimed -
~Urban apartment or condo
~Rural <5 acres
~Rural >5 acres -
We need competitors in these categories. Please jump in.

Onward into the fray!
What species have you added to your list since January 1?

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 first tally.
List of birds seen, dated if you wish.
Any comments you have about your sightings.

Head over the orange whitewash for the fine print, especially if you're joining in for the first time.

The fine print.
You can list a bird if you see or hear it while you are somewhere in your yard. A "yard" includes your living quarters. So, you can list the Killdeer that wakes you at 2am, but you can't list the Herring Gull 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 visually ID a bird that you have 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 "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...)
You're on the honor system here, though I suspect we'll figure it out if you list Common Loons and Canvasbacks while claiming to live in an urban apartment somewhere in Kansas.

I'm in nocomputerland this weekend, so won't be able to answer questions or comment. Don't let this stop you. I'll be looking forward to the updates when I return.

The next tally will be on February 4.

Ready? Go!

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