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Yard Lists

posted by CarlIngwell at
on Saturday, September 1, 2012 

For the past four years, I've been keeping a yard list (through eBird) at my Sugarhouse home.  Every once in a while I get curious and take a look at the species I've recorded here.  So far I've tallied 65 species.  Some of my favorites are:  Tundra Swans, Western Wood-Pewee, Dusky Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Plumbeous and Warbling Vireo, 6 species of Warbler, Green-Tailed Towhee, Brewers and Lark Sparrows, and Western Tanagers.  It's been a pretty great house for birding, and I don't think it's too shabby for the middle of Sugarhouse. 

Crummy picture of a Western Wood-Pewee & House Sparrow on a power line in my backyard

What is your yard list like, and where do you live?  I'd be interested to hear from others that keep yard lists in the foothills, near the lake, etc. 

Time to go check the backyard. 

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Blogger Tim Avery said...

Growing up in Sugarhouse I kept a yard list at my parent's house. That list got into the 70's. WE were about a 1/2 mile from the park so occasionally had flyover waterfowl. I occasionally saw hawks soaring over the foothills, and during migration we would get the occasional warbler, tanager, or flycatcher. Some of my favorites from their house were a COMMON REDPOLL, Northern Goshawk, Peregrine Falcon, of course Western Tanager, and Evening Grosbeak.

Sam and I have lived at our house in Sandy for 2 years now and have 71 species on our yard list. The best birds by far have been 2 RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS during migration each of the last 2 falls. I am not keeping my fingers crossed for a 3rd... The hummingbirds at this house have been fun to watch each year, and way more exciting than the occasional one from my house growing up. We live on a street called Falcon, and have had 3 species from the family flyover to boot!

Great conversation starter post!

September 4, 2012 at 8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My yard is a bit unconventional because I live in a very rural area. My yard is full of apple and apricot trees along with currants, chokecherry, and raspberries. This abundance in food brings a lot of birds in at times, along with the predators that feed on them. I am also lucky to have a large canal pass right by my house that brings in a good number of waterfowl.

It is hard to say what my favorite bird would be. I anxiously await the arrival of birds like Sandhill Cranes and Long-billed Curlew each spring and enjoy the occasional Common Grackle that shows up to mess with the nesting Brewer's Blackbirds. I always get a single Belted Kingfisher that fishes in the last ice-free spot in the canal as winter sets in. I would have to say my favorite birds in the yard have been a wayward Ruffed Grouse, a Sage-grouse flyby, and a Lewis's Woodpecker that stayed around for a week and enjoyed some chokecherries. My favorite nesting bird is the Say's Phoebe pair that sets up every year and are always the first to nest.

September 4, 2012 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger Robert Mortensen said...

When I lived in the Boise foothills, my yard list was up to 117 species. It was a pretty awesome place. My Bountiful backyard was up to 55 species. My new backyard in Meridian Idaho is at about 17. Unfortunately I live is a see of rooftops with not a lot of natural habitat around.

September 4, 2012 at 8:42 AM  
Blogger shyloh monster said...

Good post. I was just checking my yard list this morning.

My wife and I moved into a new home in Centerville a little over a month ago. It's situated about as close as you can be to the Great Salt Lake AND the Wasatch Mountains. This is an amazing spot for birds. When we moved in, I was excited to get started on a new yard list. So far, I've tallied up a quick 79 species. (Surpassing a 3 year total of 69 at my previous address in Bountiful)It helps being able to scope the Unit-1 Dike in Farmington Bay from my bathroom window. Most times it's been too hazy and hot to make out any ID's, but some days it's clear enough to see all the way to Garr Ranch. I observe most birds from my front porch, but for some reason my feeders have remained untouched - except for the hummingbird feeder. It gets used all day long.

The best bird has been a Light Morph Swainson's Hawk that enters our yard on a daily basis. I can hear it's screams from inside the house! We love watching it fly low through the neighborhood. OK, maybe it's the second best bird...

One of my dreams has been to have a wild bird come to my hand. I imagine scrub jays or chickadees will eventually hand feed if I work them with patience and diligence. Turns out a pair of BT Hummingbirds have been amazingly friendly. During this past weekend my dream was fulfilled when the hummingbirds landed on my hand in front of the feeder; usually for a second or two. Last night one came in and perched on my finger for a count of 20 seconds and my heart stopped beating. It sat there and looked around for several seconds before leaning in for more nectar. I was elated. Calm on the outside, exploding inside! After I having my fill I stepped back to allow the bird some peace. It followed me and hovered above my head until I walked back to the feeder. It immediately landed on my finger again for what felt like eternity. A BC Hummer later allowed me to rub it's belly while it fed!

This morning the same friendly broad-tailed buddy landed o rub it's belly while d on my finger and sat still while I lowered my hand to my face. We began seeing things 'eye-to-eye'. Soul birding at it'swas step outside. I suppose the hummingbirds have been the best yard birds. (Sorry hawk, I still love you.)

I look forward to watching migrating hawks and daily Bald Eagles making their trek from the mountains to the marsh. I'm hoping to clear 100 yard birds by the end of the world on December 21 (or the end of the year if you're not Mayan.)

September 4, 2012 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger shyloh monster said...

oops, sorry for the weird glitch in the 2nd to last paragraph...

"This morning the same friendly broad-tailed buddy landed on my finger and sat still while I lowered my hand to my face. We began seeing things 'eye-to-eye'. Soul birding at it's finest."


enjoy your day!

September 4, 2012 at 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Living in a newer subdivision with hardly any mature trees, my yard list is 42. That number covers 19 months. The highlights have been Mallards, a Pelican, a Swainson, and a BH Grosbeak (on the same days two years in a row) actually in my yard. I do live next to a golf course and have a coy pond. If it weren't for these my list would be like...5.

September 4, 2012 at 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Norm Jenson said...

I haven't had any new yard birds for a while, but I did see a Common Nighthawk this morning in the neighborhood about 6:30 flying over 13th East at about 82nd South. It's the first Nighthawk I've had in Salt Lake County.

September 4, 2012 at 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Margaret Sloan said...

My yard list is a big part of the reason I haven't completely moved to Utah yet. My house in Texas is in a subdivision, but it backs up to a creek. I've learned that creeks and rivers are like highways to migrating birds, and that has been true. I've also been landscaping to attract birds and butterflies. As a result, my yard list is currently 147. My highlights include the grounding of migrants in my yard in May, a Pied-billed Grebe in the creek, a Bald Eagle that perched on my house, a Crested Caracara, a male Wilson's Warbler that has spent the last 6 or 7 winters in the area (particularly enjoying the bird bath), and the wintering hummingbirds--usually a Rufous or two. Of course, I enjoy the regulars too--Carolina Chickadees, Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, Northern Mockingbirds, 4 species of doves, etc.

September 4, 2012 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger Kenny Frisch said...

In the 10 months I've been in the Sugarhouse area, I have had 33 species with the newest being Barn Swallows last week. My favorite birds have been the 3 species of hummingbirds (Broad-tailed, Black-chinned and Rufous), the Common Nighthawk I heard one morning and the one day I had 2 Pine Siskins. I have some catching up to get to Carl's list.

Back home growing up in Western NY, my family's yard was on the Erie Canal and had a nice woods there. The yard list was well over 100 species including over 20 species of warblers. There were always great birds around there. I'll see what I can find when I go back to visit in October.

September 4, 2012 at 3:38 PM  

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