Snow and eBird

All the papers and news stations are predicting a heavy snow warning for the Twin Cities area. Non Birding Bill and I even cancelled a trip today because of it. However, watching the feeders, I think the warning might be a tad overblown. Usually when our tv stations predict inches and inches we don't get very much and when they don't tell us about any snow, we get slammed. So, I try to use the feeder as an indicator. I'm not getting an increase of activity at the feeder, so I think we might get just a dusting. I've got the usual suspects, but it certainly isn't the feeding frenzy that usually happens before a big snow. The bird above is a male house finch and that is a starling taking a few peanuts in the photo below (because how often do you see a starling in a blog?). Both of these photos were taken by the NovaBird Camera in the morning, I'm going to set it up later in the afternoon to see if there's a difference. If there's no big increase at that point, we're not getting much snow.

Migrants are popping up like crazy in the southern half of the state. Birders have been enjoying the high numbers of greater white-fronted geese on Lake Byllesby in Dakota County and more and more reports of red-winged blackbirds and killdeer being seen.

I'm using this weekend to get all of our tax stuff together--ugh, bleh and barf, I say. I have found a wonderful distraction in the meantime: eBird. I've been hearing about eBird for the last couple of years and have even logged on but just couldn't get excited. I wondered how you could guarantee sighting accuracy and how many people actually use it to make it worthwhile? I'm also not a big lister, so keeping track of what I see here and there apart from the check marks in my field guide, just didn't appeal.

Maybe it's the amount of traveling I'm doing and I'm ready to list or I'm just plain avoiding dealing with my taxes, I'm sucked in. It really does make it easy to enter in your birds and there are cool tracking features that will tell you how many birds you have seen this year, how many birds total, where birds are being seen (that will need more input from birders before that is really useful).

If you have not signed into eBird, give it a shot. Even if it is keeping track of your birds in your yard, it's still pretty nifty and over the years could be part of a good network of research. I kind of use the blog archives for that, it's a nice online record that doesn't clutter up your home or your computer's desktop.