Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Our Big Summer Results!

Western Tanager

Luke and I had a good time birding over the summer. After watching the film, The Big Year with Jack Black and Steve Martin, we agreed to do a Big Summer. We knew that we would see a ton of birds we don't see in Colorado on our trip to the Outer Banks. We carried this book with us all over the Outer Banks. We flipped through this book constantly. I think I missed a chance to see an osprey because I was looking in this book. Luke knows his birds way better than I do and thus, he was able to distinguish between similar looking birds much easier. On the day that we were at the Kitty Hawk Memorial, I saw an interesting bird that I knew wasn't on my list. I asked Luke what it was. He wasn't feeling well that day and he barely responded. Little did I know that he was getting Chicken Pox! I'm still bummed about missing that bird at Kitty Hawk!

Paul took the big boys on a jeep trip on the beach to see wild horses and that's where Luke got way ahead of me on his bird list. He came back from the wild horse tour more excited about how many new birds he had seen than about the horses. At that point, I knew he was going to win. So, I made up a crazy rule that whoever saw a Western Tanager, no matter how many birds on one's list, wins. Of course, Luke thought this was entirely unfair and well, I thought this rule made the Big Summer a little more exciting. It could be anybody's game.

Western Tanagers are native to Colorado, but I haven't seen one where we live. Neither of us has a Western Tanager on our list. Luke wins!

Here's my list:

1. Red-breasted Nuthatch
2. American Robin
3. Common Raven
4. Mountain Bluebird
5. Red-winged Blackbird
6. Canada Goose
7. Scissor-tailed Fly Catcher
8. Black-billed Magpie
9. Common Grackle
10. Downy Woodpecker
11. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
12. House Sparrow
13. Laughing Gull
14. Brown Thrasher
15. Rock Pigeon
16. Northern Mockingbird
17. Herring Gull
18. Eastern Bluebird
19. Northern Cardinal
21. Brown Pelican
22. Purple Martin
23. Great Black-backed Gull
24. American Crow
25. White Ibis
26. Great Egret
27. Ring-billed Gull
28. White-breasted Nuthatch
29. Cormorant
30. Mallard
31. Steller's Jay
32. Mountain Chickadee
33. Black-capped Chickadee
Western Tanager

It's hard to believe that the winner of the Big Year competition saw over 700 different species of birds.  A serious birder could get my list in less than a day!
Now for Luke's list:

1. Crow
2. American Robin
3. Common Grackle
4. Canada Goose
5. Mallard Duck
6. Common Raven
7. Red-winged Blackbird
8. Scissor-tailed Swift
9. House Sparrow
10. Red-Winged Hawk
11. American Kestrel
12. Red-breasted Nuthatch
13. Mountain Chickadee
14. Herring Gull
15. Brown Thrasher
16. Bald Eagle
17. Laughing Gull
18. Rock Pigeon
19. Northern Cardinal
20. Northern Mockingbird
21. Eastern Towhee
22. Black Vulture
23. Osprey
24. Forster's Tern
25. Great Black-backed Gull
26. Ring-billed Gull
27. Boat-tailed Grackle
28. Brown Pelican
29. Barn Swallow
30. Brown-headed Nuthatch
31. Gray Catbird
32. House Finch
33. Purple Martin
34. Mourning Dove
35. White Ibis
36. Great Egret
37. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
38. Black-capped Chickadee
39. Brown-headed Cowbird
40. European Starling
41. Red-winged Blackbird
42. Fish Crow
43. Turkey Vulture
44. Double-breasted Cormorant
45. Black and White Warbler
46. Downy Woodpecker
47. Hairy Woodpecker
48. Northern Flicker
49. Black-Crowned Night Heron
50. Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher
51. Eastern Bluebird
52. Steller's Jay

Next up? The Big Winter!


Jennifer said...

Carmen, I don't remember if we talked about this but do you have The Backyard Birdsong Guide? My son loves all of his and I'm amazed at how he can ID birds in the woods without seeing them. So cool!

Alexandrea Brandon said...

WOW! You guys really did have a "Big Summer" of bird watching. I remember having a bird guide (when I was younger) with a picture of the bird on the top of your blog entry. There are so many beautiful and wonderful birds out there, I'm glad you two are enjoying yourselves.