If you participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) you can still enter your data until tomorrow (Feb. 28, 2014). The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society and Bird Studies of Canada (Études d’Oiseaux) have a joint website providing real-time data from the global four-day count that took place Feb. 14-17, 2014.
As of noon on Feb. 27 the map shows 143,348 checklists were turned in with 4,227 total species observed thus far. The total bird count registered at 17,690,540 and the United States is topping participation levels with more than 116,003 checklists submitted and 643 individual species reported. You can track activity by location and compare your rank to other areas.
Notable trends during the 2014 GBBC are that fewer finches were seen this year compared to 2013 when an unprecedented finch irruption occurred due to food source scarcity in Canada. The current Snowy Owl irruption has resulted in nearly 500 sightings of these diurnal raptors spotted in 20 states and provinces during the GBBC.
Record cold this winter has prompted two species – the White-winged Scoter (also known as a coot) and the Long-tailed Duck – to move further inland. Climate change is also driving indigenous Central American birds to head north into the desert southwest where sightings of Rufous-capped Warblers and Sinaloa Wrens have been reported in Arizona.
Other rare bird sightings include a Rusty Blackbird in Arkansas, a brightly colored Painted Bunting near Chicago, and a Hairy Woodpecker near Long Lake, MN. eBird.org has put together interesting ways to view the data. You can check the “yard list,” which shows real time updates from individual birders. Or explore the “patch list” (a “patch” is affectionately known among birders as a favorite hotspot to bird watch) or check out submitted data from top eBirders.