Last winter, almost no montane species spent the winter months in the valley. Of course Juncos, White-Crowned Sparrows and Pine Siskins are regular valley visitors every year, but we got little else in 2009/10.
This year I have monitored the list and my own backyard, and I've seen quite a difference. There have been multiple reports of Stellar's Jays, Red-Breasted Nuthatches, and Mountain Chickadees. Today I observed a Brown Creeper in my backyard and recall at least one other report. So far, from what I know, there have been no valley reports of Cassin's Finches or Red Crossbill.
I have no doubt that the Wasatch Front CBCs will turn up a few Creepers, Nuthatches, Stellar's Jays and Mountain Chickadees this year. In years past, Salt Lake Counts have had a really hard time coming up with some of these species.
I report all of my significant backyard bird sightings to Birdtalk because it gives people an idea of what to look for in their backyards. Not only that, but the more reports that come through, the more we can follow trends. Following the movement of montane species throughout the valley can give you a picture of conditions in our mountains (food supplies, weather, etc). I am personally interested in all reports of montane species that visit backyard bird feeders in the winters, and would like to encourage all reports.
Labels: backyard birds, winter