The Central New York Bird Count

Hawk©Janet Allen Hawk watching for his next meal

The Syracuse Post-Standard for many years carried a twice-monthly bird column that discussed interesting things about birds. Until a few years ago, its author, Dr. Benjamin Burtt, also compiled and published people's bird observations.

This citizen science effort began even before Cornell University's Lab of Ornithology started Project Feederwatch. The "rules" were similar to those of Project Feederwatch, except that people observed birds for an entire week—the first week of each month from October to April. I enjoyed participating in this project—my first experience as a citizen scientist!

As with Project FeederWatch, the important rule was to count only the maximum number of birds of a given species that you saw at any one time. This guaranteed that you never counted the same bird twice. This rule was necessary, but frustrating when you saw, for example, a female cardinal and a while later, a male cardinal. Even though you knew two different birds visited your yard, you could only record "1" since you didn't see them both at the same time. This rule is understandable when you realize that recording "2" in this example would have over-represented species where gender is obvious relative to species, such as chickadees, where gender is not.

Results

These results represent birds I saw only during one week each month.

NOTE: The first number in the following table refers to my observations for the '00-'01 season; the second number the '01-'02 season. A dash represents no birds seen during that month.

  Oct '00-'04 Nov '00-'04 Dec '00-'04 Jan '01-'04
# Species 5-9-9-11-10 5-13-12-11 6-8-5-13-14 5-8-9-13
Sharp-shinned Hawk 0-0-0-1-1 0-1-1-0-0 1-1-0-1-0 0-0-1-1
Rock Dove - - - -
Mourning Dove 1-1-1-4-2 0-1-3-2-5 1-0-2-3-7 3-0-17-4
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 0-0-1-1-0 0-0-0-1-0 - -
Red-bellied Woodpecker - - 0-0-0-0-1 -
Downy Woodpecker 0-1-0-0-1 0-1-1-0-1 0-1-0-1-1 0-2-1-0
Northern Flicker - - 0-0-0-1-0 -
Blue Jay 2-3-4-3-3 2-3-4-2-2 3-4-2-3-2 2-4-4-3
American Crow - 2-1-0-2-0 2-3-0-1-0 0-3-1-1
Black-capped Chickadee 2-2-2-4-3 3-5-3-3-4 2-2-4-5-6 1-4-4-7
Tufted Titmouse - 0-0-0-0-2 0-0-0-0-1 -
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 0-2-0-0-0 0-1-0-1-0 0-0-0-2-
White-breasted Nuthatch - 0-1-1-1-0 0-0-0-0-1 0-0-0-1-
House Wren - - - -
Golden-crowned Kinglet - - - -
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - - - -
Hermit Thrush - - - -
American Robin 0-0-0-0-1 - 0-0-0-0-1 0-1-0-0
Gray Catbird - 0-0-0-0-1 - -
Northern Mockingbird - - 0-0-0-1-0 -
European Starling - - 0-0-0-0-30 3-4-0-4
Black-throated Blue Warbler - - - -
Yellow-rumped Warbler - - - -
Cedar Waxwing - - - -
Northern Cardinal 0-2-1-2-2 0-2-2-1-1 0-2-2-1-2 0-2-2-2
Common Yellowthroat 0-0-0-1-0 - - -
Chippng Sparrow - - - -
Song Sparrow 0-1-1-0-0 0-0-0-1-0 - -
White-throated Sparrow 0-0-1-2-0 0-0-1-0-0 - -
White-crowned Sparrow 0-0-0-0-2 0-0-0-1-0 - -
Dark-eyed Junco 0-1-0-0-0 0-0-0-0-2 0-0-0-0-1 0-0-2-8
Red-winged Blackbird - - - -
Common Grackle - 0-1-1-0-0 - -
Brown-headed Cowbird - - - -
House Finch 0-0-0-1-0 0-1-1-0-0 0-0-0-1-3 -
Common Redpoll - - - 0-0-0-6
American Goldfinch 2-3-8-21-50 1-2-1-2-60 0-0-0-15-8 0-0-0-18
House Sparrow 30-50-30-60-25 50-60-80-50-50 65-65-60-50-60 80-70-40-40

 

  Feb '01-'04 Mar '01-'04 Apr '01-'04 May '01-'04
# Species 7-11-9-11 11-12-8-13 13-16-16-14 17-19-26-18
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1-1-0-1 1-0-0-1 0-0-0-1 -
Rock Dove 0-0-2-0 - 0-0-4-0 0-1-2-0
Mourning Dove 0-2-8-7 3-2-5-4 3-7-7-5 2-9-5-3
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - - - 0-1-1-0
Red-bellied Woodpecker - - - -
Downy Woodpecker 0-1-1-0 0-1-0-0 0-0-1-0 0-0-1-1
Northern Flicker - - - 0-0-0-1
Blue Jay 3-3-2-4 3-3-4-2 3-6-4-5 2-2-1-3
American Crow 2-3-0-0 2-6-2-0 3-2-0-0 1-4-0-0
Black-capped Chickadee 4-3-3-6 3-3-7-4 5-2-4-4 3-1-3-2
Tufted Titmouse - - - -
Red-breasted Nuthatch 0-0-0-2 0-1-0-2 0-2-0-1 0-1-0-0
White-breasted Nuthatch 0-1-0-2 0-0-0-1 0-0-1-1 0-0-1-1
House Wren - - - 2-2-2-1
Golden-crowned Kinglet - - - 1-0-0-0
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - - - 0-0-2-1
Hermit Thrush - - - 0-0-1-0
American Robin 0-1-0-0 0-1-0-2 1-2-3-2 2-2-3-3
Gray Catbird - - - 0-0-1-0
Northern Mockingbird - - 0-1-0-0 -
European Starling 7-50-4-2 17-2-7-0 2-1-2-0 1-0-3-0
Black-throated Blue Warbler - - - 0-0-1-0
Yellow-rumped Warbler - - - 0-0-0-1
Cedar Waxwing - - 6-0-0-0 0-0-3-0
Northern Cardinal 2-2-2-1 1-2-2-2 1-3-2-2 2-2-2-2
Common Yellowthroat - - - 0-0-1-0
Chipping Sparrow - - 1-1-1-0 1-0-1-0
Song Sparrow - - 1-1-1-1 1-1-1-1
White-throated Sparrow - - - 1-3-1-2
White-crowned Sparrow - - - 1-0-1-3
Dark-eyed Junco 0-0-0-3 1-0-0-2 3-8-6-2 0-2-0-2
Red-winged Blackbird - - - 0-1-0-0
Common Grackle - 0-6-0-1 0-12-15-50 4-6-2-3
Brown-headed Cowbird - - - 0-1-1-0
House Finch - 2-2-2-2 2-4-2-4 3-5-2-2
Common Redpoll - - - -
American Goldfinch 0-0-1-70 4-0-0-50 0-1-1-14 4-6-7-4
House Sparrow 80-60-40-45 60-60-45-40 35-40-25-15 6-10-6-8