Bluebird nestboxes and May Feeder Survey results

BIRD COLUMN FOR May 29, 2005

By Benjamin P. Burtt

1. A Reader’s question: how can I get more than one family of bluebirds to use nestboxes I have in a field back of my house? This question and the answer also appeared in the Post Standard today, May 29.
2. The results of the Feeder Survey for the first week of May

SECTION 1 : A READER’S QUESTION ABOUT BLUEBIRDS. This material appeared in the Post Standard today.

Mr. Burtt: I have five bluebird nest boxes in a field back of my house and each year we are lucky to have a pair of bluebirds use one of the boxes. Is there a way I can get bluebirds to use some of the other boxes too? W. P. Morrisville, NY

Dear W.P.: It is good to have several boxes available. Even when there is only one pair of bluebirds around, they are choosy and you never know which box they will like the best. It is good to give them a choice. Multiple boxes increase the chances that you will attract at least one pair of bluebirds.

CAPTION: The bluebird can be attracted to nest boxes placed in the correct location. This photograph of the male bluebird was taken by Robert Long of Syracuse.

Now we come to the crucial factor. Bluebirds are territorial and both the male and female will fight vigorously to keep other bluebirds out of the territory where they decide to nest. This territory is huge. A pair that has chosen a box will not allow other bluebirds to nest within 300 feet of their nest!

Tree swallows and house sparrows are attracted to bluebird boxes and are a serious competitor to the bluebird. If there is a quarrel over the box, the bluebird often loses and must go elsewhere.

All these other birds also have a territory that they defend against others of their own kind.

Now that we have learned about these territories and how each bird keeps others OF ITS OWN KIND away, we can use these habits to help the bluebird when we put out the nest boxes.

If you put up single boxes spaced 300 feet apart , tree swallows may take every one and the bluebird often gets left out.

It is better to put up two boxes about 10 to 15 feet apart. Now bluebird families will never occupy both boxes, but If a tree swallow gets one of the boxes first, it will keep other tree swallows away from the 2nd box, but it won’t object to a bluebird using it. This is the way you prevent tree swallows from taking all of the boxes.

Since bluebirds return from the south about March 10 and tree swallows wait until April 1, the bluebird will have a choice of of which of the pair of boxes it wants. Even if there is only one pair of bluebirds around, they are choosy and you never know which one they will like the best. Once they choose one they will keep other bluebirds from using the second box, but they will allow a tree swallow to use it.

If you would like to have more than one pair of bluebirds nesting on your land, put up another pair of boxes, but keep that pair at least 300 feet from the first pair. If you wish to add more boxes, remember a bluebird will not nest within 300 feet of another active bluebird nest. Thus we see that the reason you never before had bluebirds use more than one box was almost certainly that your boxes were too close together.

If you wish to read complete directions for making and placing bluebird nest boxes , Click on Columns in the Table of Contents at the top of this page on the left and then choose the date of June 27, 2004 .

The results of the May Feeder Survey.
There are always more species reported on the feeder survey taken during the first week of May than at any other time during the year. This time 82 species were seen by two or more people.

In addition, 35 observers each recorded an additional species not seen by anyone else. So the total of all reports was 117 species ( we had 110 last year).

What species were people seeing in their yard? The chickadee was listed on every report and the robin on 98% of the reports. Others seen at most feeders were mourning dove, goldfinch, cardinal, blue jay, crow and downy woodpeckers. Next came chipping sparrow, grackle, junco and starling.

The most numerous bird was the goldfinch with the average person reporting 7in sight at once. The goldfinch is not busy with nesting until late summer so it is about the only species where both male and female can still visit a feeder together in May.

White-throated sparrows are present in their largest numbers in May. There were no white-crowned sparrows from January through April, but May is the only month we get them and 38 people listed 88. Both white-throats and white-crowns are on their way to their nesting grounds in northern Canada beyond the trees.

Many more people are now reporting rose breasted grosbeaks than in the past. In the 1970's they were rare birds at a feeder.

Almost all the tree sparrows, juncos and redpolls that were at our feeders during the winter have returned to their breeding grounds in the north. We won’t be seeing them again until next winter.

The Long ListsWhat is the largest number of species that any one person might be expected to find in their yard in early May? Certainly no one would get all the 117 species on the combined lists this time. The longest single list this year had 62 and was turned in by Ken Smith of Freeville. Jeanne Ryan of Cazenovia had 57. Dorothy and Steve Hanzlik tallied 51 near Whitney Point. David Pardee had 49 at Bremerton and so did Linda Quackenbush of Waterloo.

The shortest list had 5 and this was the 4th grade glass at New Haven Elementary school. This was their best month yet and the species were goldfinch, mourning doves, chipping sparrows, crows and one turkey vulture was spotted overhead. Their classroom faces a courtyard and it is hard for birds to discover the foods. Good job!

The typical report had 22 just as it did last year.

Here is the complete list of species. The first figure is the number of birds spotted per 100 reports and the number in parentheses is the number of reports that listed the species. For example just below you will see turkey vulture 81 (38). That means that for a sample of 100 reports a total of 81 vultures were tallied. It also means that in the 100 reports only 38 listed this species.

Loon 2 (1); American bittern 2 (1);great blue heron 23 (18); green heron 7 (6); turkey vulture 81 (38); snow goose (1) (1); Canada goose 264 (52).

Ducks: wood 20 (10); mallard 97 (32);green-winged teal 3 (1); bufflehead 5 (1); hooded merganser 8 (1); common merganser 4 (2).

Hawks: osprey 8 (4); bald eagle 1 (1); harrier 8 (6); sharp-shinned 7 (7); Cooper’s 9 (8); broad-winged hawk 3 (3); red-tailed 23 (20); kestrel 10 (8); merlin 1 (1).

Pheasant 1 (1); ruffed grouse 7 (4); turkey 56 (22); killdeer 10 (7); woodcock 12 (7).

Gulls: ring-billed 158 (9); herring 47 (3); common tern 2 (1); rock dove 98 (19); mourning dove 366 (96); horned owl 3 (3).
Chimney swift 6 (1); hummingbird 8 (5).

Woodpeckers: red-headed 1 (1); red-bellied 55 (40); yellow-bellied sapsucker 7 (6); downy 187 (85); hairy 88 (53); flicker 48 (37); pileated 16 (13).

Least flycatcher 2 (2); Phoebe 38 (26); Blue jay 264 (90); crow 389 (88); raven 6 (3).

Purple martin 8 (2); tree swallow 155 (38); barn swallow 25 (10);

Chickadee 316 (100); titmouse 124 (60); red-breasted nuthatch 25 (18); white-breasted nuthatch 89 (64); gnatcatcher 1 (1); creeper 1 (1);

Carolina wren 1 (1); house wren 26 (17); winter wren 1 (1); golden-crowned kinglet 1 (1); ruby-crowned kinglet 22 (10).

Thrushes: bluebird 40 (20); veery 2 (2); hermit thrush 4 (2); wood thrush 5 (5); robin 286 (98); catbird 7 (6).

Mockingbird 4 (3); brown thrasher 10 (10); starling 440 (76); cedar waxwing 24 ( 4).

Warblers: blue-winged 1 (1); Nashville 4 (3); yellow 14 (13); magnolia 2 (1); yellow-rumped 12 (5); black-throated green 1 (1); palm 1 (1); black and white 1 (1); redstart 1 (1); common yellow-throat 2 (2); towhee 20 (17)

Sparrows: tree 34 (13); chipping 221 (80); field 14 (10); savannah 1 (1); fox 14 (6); song 120 (55); swamp 6 (3); white-throated 260 (62); white-crowned 88 (38); junco 269 (79).

Cardinal 209 (92); red-winged blackbird 404 (70); meadowlark 2 (1); rusty blackbird 3 (3); grackle 408 (80); cowbird 270 (67); orchard oriole 1 (1); Baltimore oriole 19 (13); purple finch 164 (54); house finch 153 (58); redpoll 1 (1); pine siskin 8 (3); goldfinch 706 (96); house sparrow 264 (55).

Feeder Survey Directions

Feeder surveys are conducted for one week starting the first Sunday of each month from October through May.

This is a scientific project that I have been operating since 1959 that utilizes readers of this column who observe the birds in their yard and report the numbers and species to me. It is a lot of fun and if you haven't participated before, the following paragraphs describe what it is and how you can help out.

Your observations will help me find out what birds are visiting our yards and feeders throughout the winter. When the results are printed, you can compare the number and types of birds at your feeder with other feeders in the area. I will be able to compare this years results to earlier years.

Participation open to all who live in Central and Upstate New YorkParticipation in this fun project is open to all who live in Central and Upstate New York State. Here is how I define the limits of that area.

The northern boundary is the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario west to Rochester.

From there the boundary goes south to Elmira and Binghamton. From Binghamton the line goes north east along Interstate 88 to Albany and then north on Interstate 87 to the border with Canada.

Thus it includes all of the Adirondacks and the Finger Lakes regions.

For those of you familiar with the reporting regions of the former Federation of NY State Bird clubs, it includes all of Regions 2 through 7 and part of 8 ( The Federation has a new name, The New York State Ornithological Association ).

History of this projectThis feeder survey was started in the winter of 1958-59, and data have been gathered every year since then. The idea was suggested by the late Dr. Francis Scheider. So this is the start of the 45th year of this project.

In 1970, a feeder survey was initiated in England. In 1976, one was started in Ontario, Canada, by the Long Point Observatory. The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology began a survey for the whole United States in 1987.

This is what you do.

Starting on the first Sunday of the designated month and continuing through Saturday, when you have a few minutes, look out the window at the feeders in the yard, and record the number and species of all birds that you can see from the house at that moment. These birds can be at the feeder or anywhere in sight.

Those flying by can be counted if you are sure of the identification. You can record birds that you see when you are outside as long as you are looking from a point right near the house. Birds seen on hikes nearby are not to be included in the list.

To avoid counting the same bird more than once, write down the maximum number of a given species that you see at one time. This way, you know that there are at least that many birds visiting your yard.

Later that day or on another day during the week, check the yard again and write down the number of each species that is visible at one time during that period. Watch as often as you like and keep these lists until the end of the week. You don't have to watch every day, but any day Sunday through Saturday can be included.

Then, summarize your observations by preparing a single list for me that shows the name of each species seen and the largest number of birds of that species sighted at any one time during the week. For example, if you see a total of 42 house sparrows this week, but never more than nine at a time, nine is what you put on the list that you send in.

There may be more than nine house sparrows around your yard, but we are certain that there are at least nine.

We conduct a survey for a week starting the first Sunday of the month from October through May. Through these surveys we see how the population of different species changes throughout the winter. We can also pick out long-term changes in the population of some species over the years.

Preparing the list.

There are several things you can do to make the tabulation easier for me. First, it is a big help if each list has the birds in the same order. If you can, please use what is called "check-list" order. It is the order the birds are listed in your field guide and the order I use when I publish the list of birds seen on a survey.

The second way you can help is to put each species on a separate line with the number of birds first and followed by the name of the species.

Please write the total number of species at the top of your list.

Unusual birds. If you list a bird that is unusual in this part of the country or should not be here at the time of the survey, or closely resembles a species common in our area, please write a note describing the field marks you observed and how you made your decision.

Sending in the ReportsAt the end of the week, put your final list on a postcard or in a letter and send it to the address below. You can use EMAIL if you wish. If you do use Email, please give your name and address so I will know where your observations were made.

PLEASE send your report by Monday right after the survey so that I can get the tabulation done in time to write up the results by the following Saturday.

Send your feeder survey report to either of the following addressesBy Regular Mail: Ben Burtt, PO Box 4915, Stars Magazine, Syracuse, NY 13221.

By E-Mail: Send to Be sure to put "For Ben Burtt" in the Subject Line.

How you can read the Summary Report of the results.

About 3 weeks after a particular survey week ends, when the next survey starts, A column on the web site will include a detailed discussion of "The Feeder Survey Results" It will include the complete list of species, a discussion of all the trends and unusual birds reported, as well as the longest and shortest lists, etc.

A brief discussion and summary of the observations is published in the newspaper on that same date, but there is not enough space there for all of the details that are in the summary of the survey on this web site.

Reader Question on Cardinal eggs and Cornell Ornithology website

BIRD COLUMN FOR May 15, 2005

By Benjamin P. Burtt

SECTION 1. A Reader’s question: Can you tell me something about the nest and eggs of the cardinal? This question and the answer also appeared in the Post Standard today, May 15.

SECTION 2. The new “All About Birds” website from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology that provides for the public and school teachers everywhere, the Life History of 585 North American birds as well as material on attracting birds. There is no charge to look up information there.

SECTION 3. “The Birds of North America” This is a very detailed and complete life history of all 716 North American Birds. It is designed for scientists and for libraries at universities. To see any of the 18,000 pages of information you must be a subscriber.

SECTION 1. The material here was published in Stars Magazine of the Post Standard on May 15. It answers a reader’s question about the nest and eggs of the cardinal.

Mr. Burtt: I see cardinals around my home nearly every day. Can you tell me something about the nest and eggs of the cardinal? My book only covers the identification of birds. L.D. Cazenovia.

Caption: The male and female cardinal are shown here in this painting from Peterson’s “Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America”
(Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Co.)

Dear L.D.: The cardinal’s nest is generally well hidden and you do have to search for it. The male was probably singing near the nest earlier. That may help you locate it. Usually it will be hidden in any of the following locations: dense shrubbery, a tangle of vines, a briar tangle or a small coniferous tree where the branches are close together. The nest is generally 4 to 5 feet above the ground.

CAPTION:This photograph of the nest of a cardinal by Hal Harrison is from his book, “A Field Guide to Bird’s Nests of the Eastern United States”. Although published in 1975, this excellent book is up to date and still in print. ( Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Co. )

The nest itself is made of twigs and grasses and put together rather loosely. Fine grasses are placed in the center to produce a soft lining and to provide insulation. The photograph by Hal Harrison shows this loose construction. The inside of the shallow bowl is just under 3 inches in diameter. The eggs are a shiny white with brownish spots.

Where can a person look up the answers to a question about the details of the life of a particular bird such as the cardinals nest and eggs discussed above? Written material that deals with such matters is referred to as the “Life History” of the bird. In the past a scientist or an interested lay person had to refer to a set of books.

One excellent such 21 volume set which I have used for years is called, “The Life Histories of North American Birds”. These were authored by Arthur Cleveland Bent and many collaborators. The 21 volumes were published over the years 1919 to 1968. That is where I have always searched for information about any of the 716 species we have in North America.

Now, I would like to tell you about a wonderful new web site prepared by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology where you can look up the answers to many such questions about birds. It is almost like having your own private library without having to buy a single book! It is called “All About Birds”.

If you have a question like the one above concerning the cardinals nest and eggs, or you have a question about attracting birds, you can go to this site where a lot of information is available. I am always willing to answer questions for you, but having a place for you to look up answers yourself may speed things up for you.

What is this “All About Birds”?

It is a web site which is a sort of Bird Encyclopedia prepared by the The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

There you will find information about 585 North American birds. Given for each bird is its description, other birds that resemble it, the sounds it makes, where to find it, what it eats, its behavior, reproduction, conservation status and other names that is has been called.

The songs of each bird are available and you can hear them if you have the proper software. There are also video clips that can be viewed.

In addition to information about each bird, there are sections on attracting and feeding birds, building and placing nest boxes and landscaping for birds. This is a web site that is indeed, “All About Birds”.

It is available on line and it is free and Cornell has made this available to the public. If you had to purchase a set of books that contained all this information, it would be too expensive for most of us to buy. I don’t have exact figures, but I would estimate that if you had to print this, you would have about 3000 pages of material.

Continually updated.
One of the great advantages of having something like this online is that it will be updated as new things are learned about each bird. Imagine having a reference book on your shelf that automatically revises itself and is always up to date with the latest information!

School teachers and their students will find this to be a great source of information. The species accounts were assembled by Dr. Kevin McGowan and the other parts of the document were prepared by Maria Read and Anne James.

You can see “All About Birds” on the internet at once there, you click on All About Birds.

Readers note: The web address that I listed in the newspaper was not working on Sunday the 15th when the newspaper came out. The one shown here seems more reliable and takes you to the same place.

How to use “All About Birds”.

When you get to that site you will have a list of choices. If you wish to read about the life history of a particular bird, click first on the tab at the top called, “Bird Guide” and then you are presented a list of species and you select the one that you want.

On the other hand, if you wish to learn about such things as binoculars or attracting birds or making nest boxes, click on the desired topic in the Table on the left side of the page.

SECTION 3. Now I wish to tell you about another web site that has even more information about birds. It is called, “The Birds of North America” web site. If you are a scientist or a serious birder and wish to read almost everything known about a particular species, this is for you. This web site was also produced by The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. It is designed for the scientist doing research and for scientific libraries and universities about the country and the world. It is devoted entirely to the life history of the birds of North America. It does not deal with birdwatching or attracting birds.

Some 700 ornithologists contributed to it and it took over 10 years to put it together. It is the most comprehensive reference to the continent’s birdlife ever published.

During the rest of this discussion below I will often refer to Birds of North America as BNA.

How does it compare in its coverage of individual species to the “All About Birds” site discussed above in Section 2?

Whereas “All About Birds” contains about 3000 pages and covers 585 species, BNA has 18,000 pages and covers all 716 species.

For comparison, the discussion of the cardinal uses 5 pages in All About Birds, 15 pages in the old Bent series and 49 pages in BNA. However, for most people, “All About Birds” will give you all the information that you need.

“All About Birds” is free and available to the public while the BNA is accessible only if your have a paid subscription. Individual subscriptions are $40 per year. Institutions such as colleges, schools and libraries pay more depending on the number of people served by the institution. This was an expensive project and paying for a subscription is a reasonable thing to ask us to do.

I subscribe for I often need all the help I can get in answering questions and in preparing the bird column.

A Free Tour of Birds of North America
You can visit BNA and inspect the complete life history of six different species without charge. These are called “demos”( demonstrations). They are “free samples” that show you what information you can get if you become a subscriber. .

The one I think you would be most interested in inspecting right now is the discussion of the ivory-billed woodpecker. This includes the recent discovery that it is not extinct after all!

To visit BNA, go to

Once there you will see the following species listed as “DEMOS”
ivory-billed woodpecker
peregrine falcon
common goldeneye
semi-palmated sandpiper
yellow warbler
fox sparrow

Just single click on the name of the species on the web site that you wish to inspect and you will be taken to the life history just as if you had a paid subscription. These six are free, but if you wish to read the life history of any other of the 716 species you will need to subscribe.

However, there are a number of other links there that you can see without charge. These include recent bird news, species that have been recently revised and how to subscribe if you are an individual or a school or library.

Remember that there is no charge for using the “All About Birds” web site and you can look up any of the 585 species listed there as well as get information on birding, attracting birds, building nest boxes, planting for birds, etc. Everyone can use “All About Birds” and that will be a place to get the information that most people need.

As I explained in Section 2 above, you can go to that free web site by clicking on
Once you are there, click on “AllAboutBirds”
This is a wonderful gift to us all from the Laboratory of Ornithology and I am sure that you will wish to use it again and again.

Deal with house sparrows and starlings and May Feeder Survey


By Benjamin P. Burtt

TOPIC: How to deal with house sparrows and starlings that try to take over nest boxes for bluebirds

ANNOUNCEMENT: The May Feeder survey starts today

This column is divided into two sections

Section 1 contains a copy of the column on the above subject as it appeared in the Post Standard in Syracuse on May 1.

Section 2 has more details on the above subject as well as the results of the April Feeder Survey.


Mr. Burtt: Starlings use my bluebird nesting box every year and the bluebirds are driven away. What can I do about this? –M.C., Port Byron.

Mr. Burtt: House sparrows are trying to take over some bluebird nest boxes we put up in the yard. What can we do? J. N., Walworth, NY.

Dear J.N. and M.C.: Your questions deal with different pests, but keeping the nest boxes just for bluebirds is a common problem.

CAPTION: This is the male eastern bluebird perched on his nesting box. It is the only one of our thrushes that nests in a hole. It is unable to make its own cavity so there is competition with starlings, tree swallows, wrens and house sparrows for every available site.( Photo courtesy of John Rogers of Brewerton).

The Starling Problem
I will answer the starling question first for it is the easiest. Starlings are larger than bluebirds. If the hole is a perfect circle and exactly 1 ½ inches in diameter the starling can not get in, but the bluebird is able to enter easily,

This hole must be bored very carefully. If the hole is just a tiny bit longer one way than the other, that is, it is not a perfect circle, starlings will squeeze in. So, if starlings are using your bluebird box, that means the hole is too big or it is not circular. So you should fasten a piece of thin plywood with the correct size entrance over the hole in the box.

How about House Sparrows?

If you make the entrance small enough to exclude house sparrows you will exclude the bluebird. Since house sparrows live around buildings, bluebird boxes should not be placed close to houses and barns.

If you must place them near buildings, you can put bluebird boxes in pairs about 10 feet apart and the house sparrow will probably take one and leave the other for the bluebird. This does work in most cases. It also works when tree swallows try to take over bluebird boxes.

Some people have had success in repelling house sparrows by attaching one end of a strip of colored ribbon or a piece of monofilament fishing line to a stick projecting up above the box. It hangs down and flutters in the wind. This often will keep away sparrows, but it does not bother the bluebirds.

Announcement: The May Feeder Survey Starts today.

Incoming flights

It is time for the warblers to arrive. Also due this week are the least flycatcher, the great crested flycatcher and the kingbird.

The chimney swift and the catbird are due. The song of the wood thrush should be heard any day now. The white-crowned sparrow will start to pass through to the north. Also expected are the whip-poor-will, red-headed woodpecker and bobolink.

In about a week we expect the veery, Baltimore oriole, scarlet tanager, rose breasted grosbeak and hummingbird.

Another solution to the house sparrow problem.
In regard to the problem of House sparrows and bluebird nest boxes,
Since house sparrows are not protected by law, you can destroy them if you wish to do so as long as you do not harm any other birds in the process. There are traps available that catch them in your yard or there are types that can be put in the nest box that close the entrance when the sparrow gets inside.

If you wish to learn how to make and place bluebird nest boxes, click on
Bluebird boxes

Results Of the April Feeder Survey
During the first week of April, 83 readers counted the birds visible at their feeder and in their yard. For comparison with results from earlier surveys, the numbers given in the discussion below are averaged as if exactly 100 reports came in.

The most abundant species at feeders and in yards was the dark-eyed junco. This is the time of the year when juncos that went south are moving back through this area to nest in southern Canada. Thus April always gives us the highest junco count for the year.

Next in descending numbers were the red-winged blackbird, goldfinch, cowbird and starling.
Birds at the typical feeder

Most every feeder had chickadees, juncos and mourning doves. downy woodpeckers, crows and cardinals. About 75% included goldfinches, blue jays, grackles, robins and starlings..
Birds present during the winter

A measure of the winter population of a particular species is the sum of the six feeder surveys from November through April. Last year there were 5,395 goldfinches tallied. This time we had 4,898. These each were larger than in any winter since the feeder survey started 45 years ago. Normally, it is about 3000 each winter. So the winter population of gold finches has increased in recent years.

The red-breasted nuthatch.

They breed from Pennsylvania north to the limit of the trees. Those that breed in the very northern part of the range move southward in the winter and for that reason we see more in the winter than during the breeding season.

The winter numbers have been higher in alternate years since about 1989. 2005 was one of the low years. Before 1989, the numbers were irregular and followed no pattern from one year to the next.

Species reported by only one person
Niles Brown of Tully listed a black duck. Margaret Miller tallied a common merganser and purple martins near Sandy Pond. At Potsdam, George and Jackie Miller saw a brown thrasher. David Pardee had a screech owl at Brewerton.

The only house wren was seen by Linda Quackenbush of Waterloo. In Cazenovia, Jeanne Ryan tallied a snipe and a swamp sparrow. Steve Swanson spotted an osprey near Brewerton. At Liverpool, Judy Thurber saw two black-backed gulls.

Kathleen Vogt spotted two white-crowned sparrows near Nedrow. Next month we will see hundreds of them as they head back north. John and Elizabeth Wallace listed a red-shouldered hawk near Brewerton. In Fabius, Ted Williams had a rusty blackbird.

Ken Zoller of West Winfield was the only person to report bank swallow and rough-winged swallow, Bonapartes gull and green winged teal.

How many species were seen?
There were a total of 88 species listed, but the average list had 21 species. More species are seen in April than in the winter when 14 would be about average. The shortest list was turned in by Norma Griffins 4th grade class at New Haven. The feeders visible from their classroom are inside a courtyard completely surrounded by the school building. In spite of that location their feeders were able to attract mourning doves and goldfinches.

Other short lists.
Seven species were listed by Fran Vanderveer of Westmoreland. Cynthia Wallace had 10 at Elbridge. There were 11 species on the lists from Helen Clark of Camillus, Alan Fitch of Marcellus and Elaine Lyon at Cortland.

Tallying 12 species was David Bigsby from Syracuse. Also tallying 12 in Syracuse was Dawn Franits. Helen Sterling got 12 at Cleveland and so did Mrs. William Woernley in Homer and David and Kathleen Zakri in Liverpool.

The Long Lists
The longest list had 47 species and was turned in by Ken Zoller at West Winfield. Linda Quackenbush of Waterloo had 46. Lawrence Abrahamson of Marcellus tallied 43.

Other long lists were:
42 from David Pardee of Brewerton
41 from Jeanne Ryan of Cazenovia
35 from Steve Swensen of Baldwinsville
34 from Dorothy and Steve Hanzlik of Whitney Point.
33 from Bill Purcell of Hastings.
33 from Kathy and Scott Trefz of Perryville.

Below is the list of all species reported. The first number for a species on the list is the number of individual birds of that species on 100 reports. The second number is the actual number of reports that listed that bird.
This last number can be very useful to you. If the bird is unusual in early April that second number will be small, perhaps less than 10. So if you have such a bird it means that very few other people spotted one.

Loon 2 (2); great blue heron 22 (17); turkey vulture 106 (29)).

Geese and ducks: Snow goose 359 (4); Canada goose 1,512 (54);
wood duck 33 (7); black duck 1 (1); mallard 79 (26; bufflehead 29 (2); common merganser 14 (1); reing-necked duck 6 (3); green-winged teal 31 (1).

Hawks: Osprey 6 (2); bald eagle 3 (2); northern harrier5 (4); sharp-shinned 9 (9); Cooper's 8 ( 8); red-shouldered 1 (1); red-tailed 30 (24); kestrel 10 (6).

Pheasant 7 (6); ruffed grouse 4 (4); turkey 136 (24); killdeer 23 (14); snipe 1 (1); woodcock 9 (7).

Gulls: Bonaparte 2 (1); ring-billed 102 (18); herring 78 (6); black-backed 2 (1); rock dove 89 (13); mourning dove 391 (90).

Screech owl 1 (1); Horned owl 4 (2); kingfisher 3 (2);

Woodpeckers: red-bellied 54 (38); sapsucker 7 (6); downy 196 (89); hairy 91 (59); flicker 35 (29); pileated 10 (9);
rough-winged swallow 1 (1); phoebe 37 (29); purple martin 25 (1); tree swallow 112 (23); bank swallow 5 (1); bluejay 223 (78); crow 404 (88); raven 8 (3).

Chickadee 384 (96); titmouse 107 (55); red-breasted nuthatch 35 (24); white-breasted nuthatch 114 (68); brown creeper 7 (7); Carolina wren 3 (3); house wren 1 (1); golden-crowned kinglet 13 (3).

Bluebird 42 (17); hermit thrush 2 (2); robin 342 (92); mockingbird 4 (3); brown thrasher 2 (1); cedar waxwing 21 (3); starling 424 (77); towhee 4 (4).

Sparrows: tree 130 (36); chipping 47 (30); field 5 (4); fox 36 (23); song 168 (59); swamp 1 (1); white-throated 44 (22); white-crowned 2 (1); junco 926 (92).

Cardinal 230 (88); red-winged blackbird 581 (70); meadowlark 4 (3); rusty blackbird 1 (1); grackle 966 (78); cowbird 341 (58); purple finch 86 (40); house finch 172 (58); redpoll 46 (6); siskin 9 (3); goldfinch 457 (79); evening grosbeak 51 (3); house sparrow 332 (46).

May Survey starts today
The last Feeder Survey of the season starts today and continues through Saturday. Record the largest number of each species you see at any one time during the week. Lots of reports are needed. Short lists are just as valuable as long ones.

At the end of the week, mail or e-mail the report to the appropriate address below.

Benjamin P. Burtt
Professor of Chemistry Emeritus
Syracuse University
Home: 6161 Smokey Hollow Rd.
Jamesville, NY 13078
Telephone 315-469-6887