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April 27th, 2016
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Tucson Bird Count

  • Click on the photos to view larger versions and watch as a slideshow

I did my bit by taking part in the Tucson Bird Count again this year. It’s “dedicated to making Tucson a better place for birds and for all of us” and I couldn’t agree more. It’s a really good, scientific survey that harnesses the power of citizen science. It’s been running for more than a decade and documents how native (and invasive) birds use urban and suburban habitats throughout the city, allowing Tucsonans and their political decision-makers to make informed decisions about how they want their city to operate to benefit birds, wildlife and people alike. At least, that’s the aim.

The Tucson Bird Count is a point count survey organized by Tucson Audubon Society in conjunction with Arizona Game & Fish Dept., University of Arizona, National Parks Service and a number of other interested agencies. Volunteers log all the birds they see and hear during a timed five minute period at 12 randomly-generated points along a given route.

As I do with most surveys, I volunteer to do a route that nobody else wants to do. I figure that I’m out birding in great places all the time, so if I spend a morning out of the prime areas it won’t hurt. For the third year I did the same route through South Tucson, counting birds at busy intersections, vacant lots, rough neighborhoods, parking lots and shopping malls. I get a few odd looks but I’ve never had any problems in this less desirable part of town.

As you’d expect I didn’t find any rarities but there were some nice surprises, given the habitat, among an impressive overall tally of 35 species. Here’s the full list:

ABERT’S TOWHEE
ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD
BELL’S VIREO
BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD
BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER
BLACK-THROATED SPARROW
BREWER’S SPARROW
CACTUS WREN
CASSIN’S KINGBIRD
CLIFF SWALLOW
COOPER’S HAWK
CURVE-BILLED THRASHER
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE
EUROPEAN STARLING
GAMBEL’S QUAIL
GILA WOODPECKER
GREATER ROADRUNNER
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE
HARRIS’S HAWK
HOODED ORIOLE
HOUSE FINCH
HOUSE SPARROW
LARK SPARROW
LESSER GOLDFINCH
LUCY’S WARBLER
MOURNING DOVE
NORTHERN CARDINAL
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD
ROCK PIGEON
RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW
SAY’S PHOEBE
VERDIN
VERMILION FLYCATCHER
WESTERN KINGBIRD
WHITE-WINGED DOVE

Tucson is a great place for people and birds alike, one of the best birding cities there is as far as I’m concerned (though I may be a little biased). The photos below don’t look too appealing but these were some of the better stops from a birding point of view. It’s amazing how certain birds can tolerate human trash!

Tucson Bird Count in South Tucson

Tucson Bird Count in South Tucson

Tucson Bird Count in South Tucson

Tucson Bird Count in South Tucson

 

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