That was the headline today in the Project FeederWatch e-newsletter. I feel like I am on the edge of this breaking news story!

It was just in December that I saw a gross of Evening Grosbeaks at my hopper/platform feeder.

Evening-Grosbeak-3.jpg

Evening Grosbeaks at the Backyard Hopper/Platform Feeder

Project FeederWatch, which I posted about just a couple of days ago, noted that since the project began the data indicated that the Evening Grosbeak population had declined dramatically. But this year, more and more people are reporting seeing flocks of this beautiful and special bird.

I think that this finding underlines a couple of key points. First, conservation works. I will give credit to the vast movement of bird watchers who fill their feeders regularly and provide alternative housing for our avian friends. This makes a difference in their ability to find the resources they need to thrive. And second, the data points of average, ordinary people all over the U.S. helps researchers understand how our bird populations are changing. This data is another key indicator or the environmental condition and how it impacts wildlife.

Okay. Nuff of that. I also just think it’s cool that I actually SAW a bunch of Evening Grosbeaks and then read this story.

Project FeederWatch offers loads of fascinating information. For example, the top 25 birds reported at feeders in Maryland in the 2006-2007 season was:

Rank within region

Common Name

Scientific name

Mean group size (when seen)

FeederWatch Abundance Index

1

Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis

5.32

3.72

2

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis

3.61

2.96

3

Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura

4.64

3.20

4

Carolina/Black-capped Chickadee Poecile carolinensis/atricapillus

2.15

1.64

5

Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor

2.13

1.42

6

Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus

1.28

0.68

7

American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis

3.41

1.60

8

Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens

1.61

1.08

9

House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus

3.74

2.06

10

Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata

2.31

1.01

11

Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus

1.17

0.61

12

White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis

1.40

0.71

13

White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis

3.93

1.81

14

House Sparrow Passer domesticus

6.87

2.67

15

American Robin Turdus migratorius

2.82

0.34

16

European Starling Sturnus vulgaris

4.33

0.69

17

Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia

1.53

0.42

18

Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula

5.71

0.43

19

Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos

1.13

0.20

20

Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater

4.03

0.29

21

Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus

4.67

0.32

22

American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos

2.96

0.35

23

Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus

1.18

0.20

24

Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus

1.21

0.08

25

Cooper’s Hawk Accipiter cooperii

1.02

0.06

You can find the top birds at your feeders and learn more about how they measure by visiting their data page here.

Happy bird watching!

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8 Comments

  • jodi says:

    This is so cool! Do you get the rose-breasted grosbeaks too? We see them occasionally, less than the evening grosbeaks, but fairly often. Do you happen to have the book Bird By Bird Gardening by Sally Roth? I should write a little review about it, because it’s a splendid book and I highly recommend it. I’m not an ardent birder, just a gardener who feeds the birds–I can name about 15 species (and not by Latin names, either) but I think I’m going to make more of an effort to identify more of what comes to our place. It’s all good, and I’ll be keen to see what else you post about birds

  • Lisa at Greenbow says:

    You are indeed lucky to have Evening Grosbeaks at your feeder. I keep looking for some but none ever show up here. Sigh~~

  • Layanee says:

    What a great shot! They are a stately bird don’t you thing?

  • Hi Jodi – Yes, I’ve seen the rose-breasted grosbeaks, but they are very, very rare. Sadly, I didn’t have my camera at the time. I think I’ll look up the Sally Roth book you mentioned. Also, I think you would find it very satisfying to put a name to all the birds that visit your yard. I do!

    Lisa – This appearance was very rare. But with the Project FeederWatch story, I’m definitely hoping for more visits.

    And Layanee – "Stately" is the exact word. Yes, indeed!

    –Robin (Bumblebee)

  • Nan Ondra says:

    I really enjoy reading your bird-watching posts, Robin, because I learn so much. I’m trying to learn more about wild birds, but I know very few by name. If the little buggers would sit still long enough for me to get a good look, that would make it a lot easier. But since they usually aren’t that cooperative, photos like yours are a great help!

  • RuthieJ says:

    What a fabulous picture Robin! I’m so jealous! This is one bird I’ve never seen and could only hope to ever see one at my feeders. Congratulations!

  • This is my first year of being involved in Project Feederwatch. I’m having fun with it. We don’t usually see the Rosebreasted Grosbeaks until closer to Spring, around here. Great post. I should do something similar on my site. šŸ˜‰

  • […] the meantime, Iā€™m keeping a keen eye out for the potential return of Evening Grosbeaks. The Winter King Hawthorns that line the driveway near our house are loaded with the fat, red […]

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