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Welcome to the 2013 Daily Kos Backyard Science Yardbird Race! This is our 8th tally diary of the year, the official place to post your sightings, ask for help, and/or crow some if you wish. This is Milly Watt and I will be the Official Tally Keeper for this round while bwren enjoys some great music. Please, let me know in the comments or kosmail me if we missed your report for June and/or I need to make any corrections.  Bwren will be back for the next tally which will appear on Sunday August 4. Mark your calendars!

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. 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 several new racers last month, lorell, Temmoku, 6410293, Dr. Erich Bloodaxe RN, and Dr. Arcadia. Welcome! A number of regulars didn't check in last month, so the active number of June participants was 23. Here's hoping that they'll return to the fray this time.

Summer is here, bringing the summer birds and their activities. The forest canopy has closed with the leaves unfolding to their full size.  This makes viewing birds in the treetops much harder.  Those of us who have learned to recognize bird songs now have an advantage (this excludes me, unfortunately). We'll see how the summer birds have changed the race since the beginning of June.

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.  This is a very good thing.

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SUBURBAN
1. enhydra lutris (40) ... Castro Valley NOCA ... 42
2. chantedor ... Paradise, CA ... 40
3. lorell ... Sugarland TX ... 35
4. AZ Sphinxmoth ... Baja, AZ ... 33
5. barbwires ... Alexandria VA ... 24
6. Temmoku ... Chicago Il ...23
7. 6412093 ... NW Oregon ... 15

One of the hottest races so far has been in the SUBURBAN category. enhydra lutris has not only taken the lead with 42, but already surpassed last year's count with half the year still to come. Congratulations for beating last year, enhydra lutris! Chantedor is in a close 2nd place with 40. Three of the newcomers are in the SUBURBAN category with lorell now in 3rd place with 35 species. Temmoku and 6412093 are the other newcomers to this group and will have lots of opportunities to catch up. AZ Sphinxmoth and barbwires didn't report in last time so we don't know how many species they will eventually add to their 4th and 5th place showings when they (hopefully) report in again.  

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URBAN DETACHED
1. bwren (50)... Seattle WA ... 39
2. billybush ... Omaha NE ... 33
3. duckhunter ... St Louis MO ... 29   
4. gulfga98 ... Brevard, NC ... 28
5. Dr. Erich Bloodaxe RN ... Middleton, OH ... 10

URBAN DETACHED looks to be another exciting race this year. bwren has expanded her lead a bit over billybush but the competition seems to be pretty intense. duckhunter and gulfga98 are right on their heels. Dr. Erich Bloodaxe RN is a newcomer to this category and will have lots of chances to catch up over the seasons ahead.

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RURAL >5ACRES
1. burnt out (73)... middle MO ... 68
2. janislav ... IA ... 46
3. MyInnerNameIsSpike ... upstate NY ... 37

burnt out has taken a seemingly commanding lead in the RURAL >5ACRES category.  But summer has been slower to arrive for janislav and MyInnerNameIsSpike, so things could change quickly with this report.

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APARTMENT OR CONDO
1. Benny Toothpick ... Carrboro, NC ... 23
2. DarkHawk98 ... location? ... 19
3. aaroninsandiego ... San Diego CA ... 18
4. LilithGardener ... NY NY ... 10

The APARTMENT OR CONDO category is a tight race with the top three contenders quite close. Benny Toothpick remains in the lead with 23. Darkhawk98 is still in second place without reporting in last month, but aaroninsandiego is working hard to close the gap and is catching up quickly. LilithGardener remains in fourth here, but hasn't reported in recently.

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RURAL <5ACRES
1. most awesome nana ... NE PA ... 41
2. PHScott (32) ... west of Tallahassee FL ... 33
3. homeschoolingmom     ... WV ... 24
4. Mojave Jo ... Barstow, CA ... 23
6. Robert Helmuth ... OK ... 14

In the RURAL <5ACRES category, most awesome nana has pulled further ahead with seven new species for a total of 41 for the year. PHScott is in second place with 33 which means he surpassed his 2012 final total.  Congratulations, PHScott, for already beating your year-end tally from last year!  homeschoolingmom's is still in third place from her earlier tally, but Mojave Jo is close behind at 23. We hope Robert Helmuth hasn't given up since his April report.

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URBAN ATTACHED
1. lineatus ... San Francisco CA ... 42
2. Kay Observer2 ... Washington DC ... 23

lineatus continues to hold the URBAN ATTACHED lead at 42. Kay Observer2 didn't check in since April, but we hope to hear from her again this time.

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WATERFRONT
1. Polly Syllabic (100) ... Gooseville WI ... 92
2. Dr. Arcadia ... thumb of MI ... 71
3. matching mole (78) ... Tallahassee FL ... 68
4. political mutt ... Sandhills NC ...  65
5. Milly Watt (67) ... Olympic Peninsula WA ... 63
6. OceanDiver ... Lopez IS WA ... 55
7. john difool ... Jacksonville, FL ... 36

And now, the WATERFRONT category, which is always exciting. Polly Syllabic has surged ahead with 13 new species to maintain her first place position. Dr. Arcadia joined the race last month and immediately went into second place. matching mole leapfrogged over political mutt and Milly Watt to move into third. OceanDiver is quickly catching up with Milly Watt.  john difool didn't report in last month, so he may have surprises for us this time.

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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 8th 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.

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 Jul 07, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Birds and Birdwatching.

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