BCAS Annual Backyard Bird Tally

Are you looking for a good way to increase your birding skills and have fun at the same time? Each year the Bay County Audubon Society has an open invitation to anyone who wants to participate in what we call the annual Back Yard Bird Count. The count begins each year on 1 January and runs through the 31st of December. There is only one simple rule: Count any bird you see or hear in your yard or see or hear from your yard. (NOTE: You may also choose a location other than your yard, such as a local park you may frequent, etc.).

Keep a list throughout the year and then report the results to jmiller0954@comcast.net. For those members who kept a list for 2022, please send them to me by January 20th so they may be included in the next BCAS Newsletter.

This is a great way to hone your birding skills, particularly if you are a new or relatively new birder, and you can spend as little or as much time as you like doing it. If you have trouble identifying a bird, a good place to start is on our main page, click the link “Need a bird ID?”

Many participants keep a running yearly species count, along with the date each species is seen. Doing so allows you to see not only how your yearly totals may change (hopefully increase), but also see which species continue to visit your yard each year, and what time of year they show up, especially the migratory birds. It also helps you to narrow down what to look for at any particular point in the year, based on previous year’s sighting dates.


By Jim Miller

Here are the results for the 2022 local BCAS Back Yard Bird Count. We had 9 participants, the same as last year. Each participant is listed below in alphabetical order. NOTE: following each participant’s species count is whether this is an increase or decrease from 2021, and then whether this is above or below their yearly running average.

Charla Boggs – 51 (decrease; below average); Mary Jo Capra – 59 (very slight decrease; below average); Norm Capra – 40 (large decrease; below average); Emily Ellis – 67 (decrease; well below average); Ron Houser – 64 (very slight increase; well above average); Neil Lamb – 132 (decrease; above average); Bill McCandliss – 55 (large decrease; well below average); Jim & Beth Miller – 111 (increase; slightly below average); Pam Overmyer – 35 (large decrease from last year; 2nd year).

In summary, only two participants had increases from 2021, however, many people reported several “1st ever” sightings of various species.

Here are just some of the highlighted birds reported (in alphabetical order): Acadian Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher, American White Pelican, Broad-winged Hawk, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Bobwhite, Ovenbird, Roseate Spoonbill, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, Yellow-breasted Chat (multiple participants), and Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

If you even think you may be interested in participating in this event, simply start keeping a list and join in the fun. If you are wondering if it is more trouble than you think it is worth, feel free to speak with any of our current participants to get their opinion.

Also, please remember the only competitive thing about participating in this venture is to see if you can exceed your previous year’s total, and perhaps you may even spot a new “1st ever” species for Bay County!