Bird-A-Day, Week 9, From Snowy Owls to Tufted Titmice

                                  Courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service
A snowy owl. I finally got to see a snowy owl. It took an hour and a half long car ride and a frigid, gusty walk across the top of a dam, but there she was sitting a short distance down the rocky slope. As many of you already know, this was a record year for snowy owl sightings (read more about that here), but it was my first chance to see one this winter. What a treat—and only two days after seeing my first rufous hummingbird.

The countdown has begun. It’s Day 62 of the Bird-A-Day Challenge and and I’m fairly certain it won’t be long before I’m done. The strategy has been: score the most challenging birds and rarities on leisurely weekends and count the more common ones on whirlwind workdays. I still have about a dozen common birds to count, but now that many of the winter migrants are departing, and the spring ones haven’t yet arrived, those are ticking by at a growing pace.

Still, the game continues. Today’s bird, in fact, is one of my favorite feeder birds: the tufted titmouse—that little gray guy with the “I’m so cool” head crest and a taletell song. Peter, peter, peter, the first birdcall I ever learned.

With spring just around the corner, it might be time to learn some more birdcalls, especially the warblers, which can be tough. Even if I do drop out of this game soon, it looks like I’ll have another challenge ahead.

Below is my Bird-A-Day list to date. Keep counting and sharing yours here on The Perch, on Audubon Magazine’s Facebook page, and on Twitter using #birdaday.

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

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