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Bird count continues through today

Posted on February 18, 2013

Frank HincheyI didn't need binoculars to see a squirrel Friday morning (Feb. 15) unwedge a large suet block out of one my birdfeeders to rob frequent visiting downy woodpeckers from a hearty breakfast on the first day of 16th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, which runs through Feb. 18.

This year, the backyard bird count has gone global, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The project is also supervised by Audubon and Bird Studies Canada.

Participants can watch birds from any location for at least 15 minutes, count the number of each bird species who come to feed, and report the information at www.BirdCount.org.

"We are eager to see how many of the world's 10,240 bird species will be reported during the count this year," said John Fitzpatrick, Cornell Lab director, in a news release. "We're looking forward to this historic snapshot of birds that will be reported from around the world."

The top 10 feeder birds of the more than 320 species that inhabit the Buckeye State, are the Northern Cardinal, Carolina/Black-capped Chickadee, Mourning Dove, Dark-eyed Junco, Downy Woodpecker, American Goldfinch, House Finch, House Sparrow, Blue Jay, White-breasted Nuthatch, according to the Cornell lab.    
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The Junco is is one the most numerous North American songbirds, but a rare breeder in Ohio, according to Jim McCormac, an ODNR naturalist. Nesters are found in scattered areas of northeastern Ohio, he said in an email.

The American Goldfinch is probably the best known, most observed and most commented on example of molt, according to McCormac.
"The males' rather amazing transformation from somber winter tones to flashy canary-yellow often happens right before people's eyes, at feeders," McCormac wrote.

During the Christmas bird count last year, birders counted a record seven bald eagles and 160 Carolina wren, another count record, McCormac noted in a recent column in The Columbus Dispatch.

In 2012, birdwatchers nationally submitted 17.4 million individual bird observations during the Great Backyard Bird Count. Participants set new checklist records in 22 states and in six Canadian provinces, according to the Cornell Lab.

Observations showed the Northern Cardinal on more checklists than any other species for the eighth year in a row, closely followed by the Mourning Dove, according to results compiled by the Cornell Lab.

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