Great Backyard Bird Count at Queens Botanical Garden

After a heavenly few days of warm weather, I was so disappointed to wake up on Saturday morning to high winds and cold (though probably more seasonable) temperatures.  Certainly not ideal weather for the Great Backyard Bird Count, and I was quite nervous since we were expecting a rather large group for the bird walk at Queens Botanical Garden -- not only adults, but also a local Cub Scout troop working towards a Conservation badge. I just didn't think we'd see anything. I shouldn't have worried. 

Red-tailed hawk

Red-tailed hawk

True, we didn't see too much, and there were certain areas of the Garden that were off-limits due to the wind like the Woodland, but what a fun time we had!  The boys and their troop leaders were a friendly, enthusiastic bunch along with the adult contingent of our group.  We had a nice view of a black-capped chickadee who looked just as interested in us as we were in him, but the highlight was a stunning aerial display by two red-tailed hawks making the most of the wind.

Without leaves, bird nests were easy to see in the trees, and a cooperative little black squirrel was the mammal representative of the day.  We were also treated to some botanical beauties like the early spring blooms of witchhazel (Hamamelis spp.) and little snowdrops (Galanthus spp.).

Bird nest

Bird nest

Witchhazel blooms

Witchhazel blooms



Our bird sightings (listed below) won't break any records.  We didn't see much in 90 minutes, nor did we see anything unusual.  But it was great fun to see excitement over house sparrows and mourning doves, and introducing people -- especially kids -- to the natural world found in a city of over 8 million people.  And isn't that record-breaking enough?!

A special thanks goes out to Chris, friend and coworker, and my always terrific husband, Mitch, for joining me.  And a thank you to pal Rob who pointed out those red-tailed hawks.

So here's our list:

  • Canada goose: 25

  • Mallard: 6

  • Red-tailed hawk: 3

  • Ring-billed gull: 10

  • Rock pigeon: 5

  • Mourning dove: 2

  • Blue jay: 1

  • Black-capped chickadee: 1

  • Carolina wren: 1

  • European starling: 100

  • Song sparrow: 1

  • White-throated sparrow: 2

  • House sparrow: 3