Bird-A-Day Challenge Ends on Day 92

Rock Pigeon. Credit Michal Sacharewicz/ CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I was saving the pigeon for last—such a common bird, yet so intriguing. And indeed, the Rock Pigeon was my finale on April 1st, Day 92 of the Bird-A-Day Challenge, a game played every year by birders from around the country who are trying to see and count one “new” bird each day. There are dozens of participants still going and it’s possible that at least one of them, if not more, will make it the whole year long. These dedicated birders are ticking through the days by seeking the most challenging birds to tally, and saving the most common birds to use when they can’t find anything else.

As for my list, I stretched as far as I could with a full-time job and a small child to care for. When the birds that visited my area in winter departed in March and the spring migrants hadn’t yet arrived, the going got tough. I started counting more of the common birds. And as the spring migrants arrived, it became increasingly challenging to identify some of the newbies, especially those tiny warblers flitting through the treetops. What’s more, most of the new arrivals are truly difficult to spot on the go. Weekend walks with a much more serious birder in my household helped push the list a little further. As I’ve said before, the time spent outside—even on uncomfortably cold days—was priceless. This week’s birds are largely familiar to most people, so here’s some fun trivia to share among friends: 

Count the dees in a Black-capped Chickadee’s (Day 83) chickadee-dee-dee call and you will know how threatened it is.
Another name for a Merlin (Day 84).
Black Hawk
290 feet. How high a baby Wood Duck (Day 85) can jump from its nest to the water below without injury.
What you call a group of American Crows (Day 86).
A Murder.
The amount of poop one Canada Goose (Day 87) can produce?
1.5 pounds per day—548 pounds per year—by some estimates.
The common ancestor of all but one type of domestic duck.
Mallard (Day 88)
A bird that tosses soil and dust on its feathers, as if it were washing with water.
House Sparrow (Day 89)
 Mozart kept one as a pet.
European Starling (Day 90)
 Gives itself away with a tail wag, and it lives farther north than most other warblers.
The Palm Warbler (Day 91)
The name for the feathers on a Rock Pigeon’s (Day 92) legs and feet.

January 2012
New Year’s Day: Red-Throated Loon??
2nd: Greater Scaup??
3rd:Common Merganser? ?
4th: Black Duck??
5th: Red-shouldered Hawk?
6th: Canvasback?
7th: Northern Gannet?
8th:Lesser Scaup?
9th: Red-bellied Woodpecker?
10th: Brant?
11th: Fish Crow?
12th: Hooded Merganser?
13th: Northern Harrier?
14th: Pied-billed Grebe?
15th: Bonaparte’s Gull?
16th: Horned Grebe?
17th: Common Goldeneye?
18th: Dark-eyed Junco?
19th: Common Raven?
20th: Hairy Woodpecker
21st: Horned Lark
22nd: Snow Goose
23rd: Northern Mockingbird
24th: Black Vulture
25th: Great Cormorant
26th: House Finch
27th: White-Breasted Nuthatch
28th: Northern Shrike
29th: White-winged Scoter
30th: Turkey
31st: Bald Eagle

1st, Day 32: Golden-crowned Kinglet
2nd, Day 33: Northern Pintail
3rd, Day 34: White-throated Sparrow
4th, Day 35: Carolina Chickadee
5th, Day 36: Magnificent Frigatebird
6th, Day 37: Short-tailed Hawk
7th, Day 38: Reddish Egret
8th, Day 39: Roseate Spoonbill
9th, Day 40: White Pelican
10th, Day 41: White-winged Dove
11th, Day 42: Anhinga
12th, Day 43: Tundra Swan
13th, Day 44: Brown Creeper
14th, Day 45: Sharp-shinned Hawk
15th, Day 46: Gadwall
16th, Day 47: Bufflehead
17th, Day 48: Cardinal
18th, Day 49: Black Scoter
19th, Day 50: Fox Sparrow
20th, Day 51: Long-tailed Duck
21st, Day 52: Herring Gull
22nd, Day 53: Pileated Woodpecker
23rd, Day 54: Rufous Hummingbird
24th, Day 55: Blue Jay
25th, Day 56: Snowy Owl
26th, Day 57: American Tree Sparrow
27th, Day 58: Great Blue Heron
28th, Day 59: Common Grackle
29th, Day 60: Great Black-backed Gull

1st, Day 61: Ring-billed Gull
2nd, Day 62: Tufted Titmouse
3rd, Day 63: Common Loon
4th, Day 64: Mute Swan
5th, Day 65: Song Sparrow
6th, Day 66: Cooper’s Hawk
7th, Day 67: American Robin
8th, Day 68: Northern Flicker
9th, Day 69: American Woodcock
10th, Day 70: Killdeer
11th, Day 71: American Goldfinch
12th, Day 72: Red-winged Blackbird
13th, Day 73: Double-crested Cormorant
14th, Day 74: Downy Woodpecker
15th, Day 75: Red-Tailed Hawk
16th, Day 76: Carolina Wren
17th, Day 77: American Wigeon
18th, Day 78: Pine Warbler
19th, Day 79: Eastern Phoebe
20th, Day 80: Pine Warbler
21st, Day 81: Tree Swallow
22nd, Day 82: Green-winged Teal
23rd, Day 83: Black-capped Chickadee
24th, Day 84: Merlin
25th, Day 85: Wood Duck
26th, Day 86: American Crow
27th, Day 87: Canada Goose
28th, Day 88: Mallard
29th, Day 89: House Sparrow
30th, Day 90: European Starling
31st, Day 91: Palm Warbler

1st, Day 92: Rock Pigeon.
The End!

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