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Welcome to the 2014 Daily Kos Backyard Science Yardbird Race! This is the second tally for 2014 and is the official place to post your sightings, ask for help, and brag some if you wish. All of the fine print can be found way below under the pile of squiggly orange bird poop.

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.

There are a number of categories, so people who live in urban centers don't have to compete against others who have a lot of open space or waterfront views.

The Categories:

       ~Urban apartment or condo
        ~Urban attached (townhouse, rowhouse)
        ~Urban detached
        ~Rural <5 acres
        ~Rural >5 acres
        ~Waterfront (trumps any of the above...)
        ~Classroom Project

We've got a strong start this year, with 20 contestants participating in six categories. We're lacking racers in Urban Attached and Classroom Project. Step up, please! As always, please let me know if I missed you last month, or if anything else needs correcting. Note, too, that the final counts for those who have participated in previous races are in parentheses after their names. Remember that all returning racers are competing against themselves this season, too.

Here's where we stand:

1. Benny Toothpick (27)... Carrboro, NC ... 14
2. aaroninsandiego (21)... San Diego CA ... 6

Benny Toothpick has jumped into the lead in the APARTMENT OR CONDO category, with 14 birds, which happens to be just over half of his total from 2013. Not bad for January. aaroninsandiego lags with only 6 birds at present, but the race is very young. These two are counting from opposite sides of the country, and so far have no common birds on their lists.  


1. Attack Gardener (new) ... Saratoga County NY ... 21
2. most awesome nana (48)... NE PA ... 18

Welcome to new racer, Attack Gardener, who has taken the lead in the RURAL <5ACRES category with 21 birds. most awesome nana is only a bit behind at this point in the race with 18, but that's a good third of her total from 2013. Looks like this could be an interesting race, especially in that their back yards are relatively close to one another. Both of them have seen Crows and Cardinals so far, but their Juncos differ: Dark-eyed to the north, Slate-colored to the south.


1. burnt out (73, 75)... middle MO ... 24

Well now, burnt out seems to have scared off all of the competition in the RURAL >5ACRES category. He's starting off the year with a opening tally of 24 species, including the Backyard Bird Race's first 2014 sighting of Cedar Waxwings.  


1. greycat  (new)... Portland, OR ... 15
2. bwren (50, 41)... Seattle WA ... 12
3. billybush (35)... Omaha NE ... 6

We've got three participants in the URBAN DETACHED category so far, two from the Pacific Northwest and one from the middle of the country. New racer greycat just walked right in for the first time last tally and grabbed the URBAN DETACHED lead with a count of 15 birds, leaving fellow PNWesterner bwren in second place with 12. Billybush has had a bit of a slow start this year, with 6 total, but the year is just beginning. All three have American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee and Dark-eyed Junco on their lists so far.



1. enhydra lutris (40, 47) ... Castro Valley NOCA ... 20
2. DarkHawk98 (new)... Bella Vista AR ... 16
3. AZ Sphinxmoth (43)... Baja, AZ ...  12
4. Mark Mywurtz (new)... MN 8 ... 10
5. barbwires (24) ... Alexandria VA ... 5

Five participants have signed on in the SUBURBAN category so far, all well scattered across the country. Welcome DarkHawk98 and Mark Mywurtz, both new this season. This category might be woodpecker central this year, with participants already reporting Red-bellied Woodpecker, Gila Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Northern Flicker and Pileated Woodpecker.


1. Polly Syllabic (100, 102) ... Gooseville WI ... 26
2. Milly Watt (67, 75) ... Olympic Peninsula WA ... 21
3. matching mole (78, 79) ... Tallahassee FL ... 18
4. OceanDiver (71)... Lopez IS WA ... 17
5. nom de plume (new)... Upper Kitsap Peninsula WA ... 16
6. Dr. Arcadia (78)... thumb of MI ... 15
7. Mark Sumner (69)... Hillsboro, MO ... 15
8. political mutt (53, 65)... Sandhills NC ...  6

The WATERFRONT category has always been competitive, and this year looks to be no exception. We've got eight participants so far, and while three racers hail from the Pacific Northwest  the rest of the country is also well represented. nom de plume has joined the race for the first time this year. Good birding to you! The ubiquitous American Crow seems to be the most common bird sighted so far in this category, but Canada Geese and Bald Eagles have also been reported by more than one participant.


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 second tally of the 2014 Backyard Science Yardbird Race is now open!


I'll be in until mid afternoon, at which time I will be dragged off to attending a Super Bowl viewing party. I've been told that this is not an ironic gathering, and that since I live in Seattle I should avoid wearing anything red. I am tempted to make a button that says "Go Pandion haliaetus!".



During the 2012 Back Yard Bird Race I was able to keep a rough account of who'd seen what bird over the course of the year. It was really cool being able to mention the various sightings on tally days. Unfortunately, with twice the number of participants last year, I was utterly lost by mid-March.

This year I'm determined to keep track. To that end, I've entered everyone's January sightings into an Excel spreadsheet. Now, how to keep it going? I'm definitely going to need help.

One thought is to make the spreadsheet accessible to everyone so that each participant could update their list each month. Is there a way to do that on-line? Would we lose participants if that was a part of the race? Another thought is that the spreadsheet could be passed around via email to monthly volunteers who would do the update and then send the results back to me in time for the the next tally. Anyone interested in trying that? There are undoubtedly other ways to accomplish this. Ideas? Let me know in the comments or via Kosmail.

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, 2014.  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, but wandering peafowl are fair game.

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

Originally posted to Backyard Science on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 06:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Birds and Birdwatching.


Which seemingly common bird is NOT in the top 10 seen so far this year?

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| 12 votes | Vote | Results

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