Saturday, June 18, 2016

Inaugural Philadelphia Breeding Bird Census

A few of the members of the DVOC are real ornithologists (the "O" in DVOC) while the rest of us are just birders. A few of the O's think they are smarter than the rest of us because they are PhDs or studying to be PhDs but they can't fool me. They think that they can get us to do their research work by making it a fun and noble thing to do. Take the Philadelphia Breeding Bird Census for example. Matt and Tony are promoting this as something that is good for the club and good for Philadelphia but I know better. What they are really doing is getting the club members to do all of the leg work for one of their college term papers. We all signed up, so I guess they are smarter than us :-)

What is a Breeding Bird Census? It is basically a way to see how many birds use your area for breeding purposes. Each area is split into a areas. Birders are assigned to an area and asked to thoroughly record all birds seen or heard on any one day in June. June is selected because migration is over so the birds in an area are presumed to be breeding there. I was assigned Lemon Hill which you have read about here many times.

Barbara and Sammy joined me and Peanut at 6:30 AM. Barbara took the notes and helped count the birds. I mainly listened and looked and counted. We did a big loop around Lemon Hill and then covered the area of the dog field and woods along the railroad tracks. I dropped a pin to show Di and Barbara's house (in the tan area).

We did better than I expected with 34 species including a few surprises like this Ovenbird that we heard singing "teacher, teacher, teacher". I tracked it down and snapped this terrible photo for proof that it was there. I've never heard of an Ovenbird breeding in Philadelphia.

The other fun birds were Cedar Waxwings and one Indigo Bunting singing along Kelly Drive. The Baltimore Orioles love this area. We saw 8 birds and found one nest. They make a hanging basket.

Baltimore Oriole nest
I'll bet there are other birds around but we only had 2 hours to cover the area and do the scut work for the budding Ornithologists.  Just goes to show you that they are pretty smart.

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