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Welcome to the 2013 Daily Kos Backyard Science Yardbird Race! This is our seventh tally diary of the year, the official place to post your sightings, ask for help, and/or crow some if you wish. Please, please let me know in the comments or kosmail me if I missed you last time and/or need to make any corrections.

Here's what the race is all about:

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.

Remember, anytime is a good time to join in, even if you're just a beginning birder. There may be some friendly bluster, but if you ask for ID help you'll get it, especially if you can write up a good description or post a photo. Too, there are a bunch of categories, so people who live in urban centers aren't competing against others who have a lot of open space or waterfront views.

The Categories:

       ~Urban apartment or condo
        ~Urban attached (townhouse, rowhouse)
        ~Urban detached
        ~Suburban
        ~Rural <5 acres
        ~Rural >5 acres
        ~Waterfront (trumps any of the above...)
        ~Classroom Project
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We always suggest that you look under the squiggly orange bird poop way below to find  the details and the fine print (always the fine print.)

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We added two new racers last month, gulfgal98 and MyInnerNameIsSpike. Welcome! A number of regulars didn't check in last month, so the active number of May participants was 19. Here's hoping that they'll return to the fray this time.

Summer is almost upon all of us now, bringing the summer birds and their activities. Reports of fledglings in the southernmost racers' neighborhoods have shown up in recent Daily Buckets, along with active nest boxes in the middle part of the country and lots of courting up north. We'll see how the summer birds' presence has changed the race since the beginning of May.

First, though, here's what the race looked like at the end of the last tally. (Note that last year's racers' 2012 counts are in parentheses after their names. They're competing against themselves this year, too.) There are still more new racers than veterans this year.  I think this a good thing.

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SUBURBAN
1. chantedor ... Paradise, CA ... 38
2 (tie). enhydra lutris (40) ... Castro Valley NOCA ... 37
2 (tie). AZ Sphinxmoth ... Baja, AZ ... 33
2 (tie). barbwires ... Alexandria VA ... 24

One of the best races so far has been in the SUBURBAN category. Chantedor had a 10 species lead going in, and is still hanging on with 38, but just by one. The three-way tie for second was broken, with enhydra lutris adding 13 species for a very close second. AZ Sphinxmoth is close behind with 33. barbwires didn't report in last time but after two months could definitely be a contender here.

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URBAN DETACHED
1. bwren (50)... Seattle WA ... 31
2. billybush ... Omaha NE ... 29
3 (tie). duckhunter ... St Louis MO ... 26   
3 (tie). gulfga98 ... Brevard, NC ... 26

billybush continues his climb toward the top, adding 8 new birds to his list to my measly three. We're neck and neck now, 31 to 29. However, there's an interesting tie for third happening just behind us. duckhunter continues to stay in the fray even though his last tally arrived back in March, and lookie here - gulfga98 jumped in for the very first time last month with 26 to tie it up. URBAN DETACHED looks to be another strong race this year.

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RURAL >5ACRES
1. burnt out (73)... middle MO ... 58
2. janislav ... IA ... 44
3. MyInnerNameIsSpike ... upstate NY ... 37

Here's another race where a newcomer jumped in last time. MyInnerNameIsSpike reported 37 species on their first tally. Even in third place now, their location in upstate NY may offer a spring migration advantage this time. burnt out and janislav continue to hold themselves in first and second here. Be nice to the RURAL >5ACRES newbie, you two.

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APARTMENT OR CONDO
1. Benny Toothpick ... Carrboro, NC ... 22 19
2. DarkHawk98 ... location? ... 19
3. aaroninsandiego ... San Diego CA ... 15 13
4. LilithGardener ... NY NY ... 10

Another wild race is shaping up in the APARTMENT OR CONDO category. When last we checked, aaroninsandiego had been bumped from the lead by two newcomers, Benny Toothpick and DarkHawk98, who immediately tied up first place. Since then Benny Toothpick has taken the lead with 22, but Darkhawk98 remains in a close second even without a tally last month! aaroninsandiego added two species, and lags, though it's close. LilithGardener remains in fourth here, but didn't report last month. Overall, this continues to be a close race. Here's hoping everyone chimes in this month!

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RURAL <5ACRES
1. most awesome nana ... NE PA ... 34
2. PHScott (32) ... west of Tallahassee FL ... 29
3. homeschoolingmom     ... WV ... 24
4. Mojave Jo ... Barstow, CA ... 16
6. Robert Helmuth ... OK ... 14

Racers who haven't reported but are still in the running seems to be a theme this tally. Take a look at the updated RURAL <5ACRES category - most awesome nana has pulled out in front with five new species for a total of 34 for the year, with PHScott in second with 29. But look - homeschoolingmom's 24 from the March tally holds her in a solid third. we hope that Mojave Jo and Robert Helmuth haven't given up. The two of them are very close after their first and only April tallies.

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URBAN ATTACHED
1. lineatus ... San Francisco CA ... 41
2. Kay Observer2 ... Washington DC ... 23

lineatus continues to hold the URBAN ATTACHED lead, adding three new species since April. Kay Observer2 didn't check in last time, but we hope to hear from her again this tally.

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WATERFRONT
1. polly syllabic (100) ... Gooseville WI ... 79
2. political mutt ... Sandhills NC ...  65
3. milly watt (67) ... Olympic Peninsula WA ... 60
4. matching mole (78) ... Tallahassee FL ... 59
5. oceandiver ... Lopez IS WA ... 38
6. john difool ... Jacksonville, FL ... 36

On to WATERFRONT, which changes every tally. pollysyllabic has jumped into the lead here, adding a yeoman 24 species for a total of 79 so far. Perhaps she'll let us know where she was last year at this stage of the race. political mutt has dropped into second place with 65, and has widened his lead a bit over milly watt, who sits is at a very close third with 60, barely in front of matching mole's 59. oceandiver and john difool continue to fight it out for fifth and sixth, at 38 and 36 respectively.

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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 seventh tally of the 2013 Backyard Science Yardbird Race is now open! You all know what to do.

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I'll be in and out all day, but not before 8am PDT.

Milly Watt will be the Official Tally Keeper for the next round, which will appear on July 7. Mark your calendars!

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
            ~Suburban
            ~Rural <5 acres
            ~Rural >5 acres
            ~Waterfront (trumps any of the above...)
            ~Classroom Project

You're on the honor system here. I'm certain that the competitors will catch any reports of Fratercula cirrhata arriving from anywhere on the east coast.

Originally posted to Backyard Science on Sun Jun 02, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Birds and Birdwatching.

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