Friday, February 18

Friday Dose of Cute: The Great Backyard Bird Count Started Today! (and the Neatest Bird Ever in My Backyard)

Chickens counting sheep isn't quite how the Great Backyard Bird Count works. (That's Chocolate Chip Biscotti and her ewe lamb back on 6/27/08.)

Bird and nature fans throughout North America are invited to take part in the 14th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, which runs from Friday, February 18th through Monday, February 21st. This four-day event is a joint project between The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society, and Bird Studies Canada (BSC) that engages bird watchers in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent.

Anyone can participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from novice bird watchers to experts. It's a great opportunity for families, students, and people of all ages to discover the wonders of nature in backyards, schoolyards, and local parks while making an important contribution to conservation.

It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It's free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds.

Last year, participants submitted over 97,000 checklists online. There were 603 species observed and over 11 million individual birds counted, creating the continent's largest instantaneous snapshot of bird populations ever recorded.

For more information, check out the Great Backyard Bird Count website. Details on how you can participate are here, and you can read more about the GBBC here. You can learn more about birds in general at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds website. And at, bird-lovers can share stories and information about birds and help protect birds from activities that harm them and their habitat.

Screech Owl in the backyard 1-20-08 - Farmgirl Fare
Screech owl in the yard on 1/20/08

We're fortunate to be surrounded by birds here on the farm, from the giant redheaded woodpeckers and colorful cardinals to the migrating geese (they're heading north now!) and the gorgeous hawks that often circle and cry overhead. There are hummingbirds that flit around the garden and ravens that love to try and steal Daisy's food (she hates those big black birds). I love my collection of bird nests, each one a work of art.

And then there was this amazing little owl that showed up one cold and windy heartwrenching morning back in 2008 and stayed for much of the day. You can see more photos of it (I always think of the owl as he, but I have no idea whether it was a male or female) and read about what happened that day, which also included the appearance of a bald eagle, in Wild Kingdom: A Big Sunday Feast and a Mysterious Little Owl. I'm still in awe over that owl—and am so grateful it came to visit our backyard.

Have fun counting!
©, the winged foodie farm blog where it would be very quiet and very boring around here without all the birds—and I'm not just talking about those crazy roosters.


  1. Your chickens are fantastic and oh, my, that little adorable owl. I'll be doing the bird count this weekend, too. My feeders are right outside my kitchen window. The most unusual bird spied a few times was a rose-breasted grosbeak. Very exciting. It's like a little soap opera out there. Can't wait for the robins to come back and since I see my spring bulbs coming up, that can't be long now. I share your affinity for bird nests. Amazing how those tiny creatures can build those masterpieces!

  2. Those chickens are so beautiful (as are the sheep!) And that owl is amazing! Wow! What a great photo!

    The most amazing bird I have seen in my yard is a Red-tail Hawk - looking for lunch I presume! I'm always amazed at how big they are.

    Now, I must go check out The Daily Donkey. (My day just isn't complete without a little donkey fix!)

  3. Beautiful picture of the Owl! We had one show up on our porch last year checking out our indoor birds! Great pictures as always.

  4. Great post-love your photos!


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