Arkansas birds were out in force this past weekend when I participated in my first Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). I’ve just completed entering the 26 bird species I viewed into the GBBC database.
The GBBC only calls for at least 15 minutes of birdwatching. Well, I decided to spend my birdwatching time on Saturday in Wynne at Village Creek State Park. Later, I visited my grandparent’s farm to walk their woods. I got lucky in both spots, however, my best find was when I drove from Wynne to Stuttgart on Hwy. 306. (See pictures below).
I say Hwy. 306 was my best find because I discovered the above Greater Yellowlegs and the below Northern Pintails. I also discovered a lazily circling Northern Harrier (third picture below).
In all, my weekend list had American Kestrels, American Robins, blackbirds, Blue Jays, Canadian Geese, Crows, Downy Woodpeckers, Eastern Bluebirds, Gadwells, Greater Yellowlegs, Hermit Thrush, House Sparrow, Mallards, Northern Cardinals, Northern Harrier, Northern Pintails, Northern Shovelers, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Red-tailed Hawks, Slated Juncos, Tufted Titmouse, White-Fronted Geese, White-Throated Sparrows, Yellow-bellied Woodpecker and Yellow-Rumped Warbler.
Here’s some more pictures:
- Seven Reasons to Get Excited for the Great Backyard Bird Count This Weekend (birds.cornell.edu)
I finally saw my first Downy Woodpecker at my aunt’s house in Little Rock. OK, I might have seen it before but its hard to distinguish from the Hairy Woodpecker. Both are the only common woodpeckers to have vertical white strips on the back. They also have black and white wings with a comma-shaped black mark, although the mark is more obvious on the Hairy.
According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project FeederWatch, the easiest way to tell which one you are looking at is by the size — the Downy has a short, about one-third long bill and is smaller at about 6.5″ long while the Hairy has a long, chisel-like bill about the size of its head and is about the size of a robin, 9-13″ long.
It also helps that Downys are more likely to be found in suburban areas. The Downys have weaker, squeakier calls with a slower drum than the Hairys, which have louder, more powerful calls and a faster drum.