Welcome to the 2012 Daily Kos Backyard Science Yardbird Race! This is our seventh tally diary, where you can post your sightings, compare notes, and brag a bit if you wish. I've been remiss in keeping this up, but we've gone through spring and autumn migrations and hopefully, you all have been better at keeping track than I have.
It's still 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 the fine print can be found beyond the orange bird poop below.The last tally was in June, when we had 10 active racers participating in five categories and 10 more who had at reported at least once since we began in January.
Here's where the race stood on June 10:
Again, we'll start in the SUBURBAN category, where jim in IA pulled away with 37 species as the summer heated up. enhyrda lutris stalled at 33, unchanged from May, but the spring migration is a little later in the Bay area, so there's a good chance of a race here, especially as we're counting the return migration.
burnt out continues his commanding lead in the RURAL <5 ACRES category, adding six species from May for a total of 64 in his middle Missouri neighborhood. North of him in Iowa, janislav also added six species for a total of 35. Lets see what happened when the birds headed south.
Alas, I'm still the only active competitor in the URBAN DETACHED category, with 44 species counted. Perhaps someone will jump in to challenge me. It's not too late.
PHscott is another lone competitor, holding down the fort in the RURAL >5 ACRES category where he leads at 32. However, he abandoned his site in Florida in May to take up temporary residence in NY, and we've not had his count from there yet. He's back in Florida, (I think) and it appears that he may still be competing with himself. Lets let him figure this out!
Now to the big race - WATERFRONT. Last we heard there were four active racers. polly syllabic, up in southeast Wisconsin holds the current record for this and all categories, a smashing 87 species. matching mole, down in Florida is a bit behind, bit still secure in second place at 65. The real race is between political mutt in the Sandhills of North Carolina and milly watt up on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. Southeast vs Northwest here, with political mutt just in the lead for the bronze, 53 to milly watt's 49.
OK, there's been a good while since we last had a tally, a time that has encompassed the spring migration, breeding season and the return migration. Some areas are getting snow now, others wind and rain. Some remain unseasonably mild. How are the birds dealing with this? Let us know.
New racers are welcome! Go back to your photos and your notes and let us know what you've seen in your backyard since January 1. Everyone else, you know what to do. The penultimate 2012 Birdrace tally is now open. The final tally will be on January 1, 2013, with Bragging Rights to follow.
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.As always, details about the Yardbird Race and a bit of fine print can be found below the orange bird poop.
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.
Details and the fine print.Everyone is welcome! We'll even help you with ID's.
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)
~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 Mangrove Cuckoos and Fulvous Whistling Ducks while claiming to live above the 40th parallel.