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Great Backyard Bird Count Results from Central Oregon

Great Backyard Bird Count

Results from Central Oregon

February 12-14, 2021

We had a fun time counting birds for the project even though we had snow two of the three days and temperatures down into the teens. We had far fewer birds than the last two years. 2021 has turned out to be a surprising year of crazy ups and downs as far as the weather here in Central Oregon. I think this influenced the bird count.

Eurasian collared dove   5

Mourning dove                 3

Downy woodpecker       1

Hairy woodpecker           1

Mountain chickadee       6

Pygmy nuthatch               3

House finch                        11

Dark-eyed junco               3

Northern flicker                1

Song sparrow                     1

Common raven                 1

Here’s a video sharing the GBBC’s results for 2021.

You can read the results and see more images at this link: Great Backyard Bird Count 2021 Results.

 Did you count birds? Anything exciting show up to be included in your count?


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Outdoor Hour Challenge -Looking for Spring Birds Challenge

Here’s the link to the challenge in the archives: Spring Bird Nature Study.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Spring Bird Observations @handbookofnaturestudyYou’re going to find all kinds of helpful suggestions in this entry along with a printable notebook page, a complete coloring book, and links to learn more about identifying birds by their song.

Don’t miss this week’s nature study suggestion to take time to learn about a new spring bird in your neighborhood. If you’re really up to a challenge, your family can participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count which is this weekend!!!  You only need to commit to a few minutes of observation time to make this citizen science project a part of your nature study this week.

 Great Backyard Bird Count poster

Find all the details here: Great Backyard Bird Count.



Learning About Birds 3D cover

This is the perfect time to download the Learning About Birds ebook available in Ultimate and Journey level memberships. This ebook steps you through the study of birds by color and topic. Included in the ebook are notebooking pages, images, and links to help you study some of the most common birds here in North America.

Learning About Birds ebook Bird List @handbookofnaturestudy

Look for this ebook in your library if you’re a member or join now using the discount code below for $5 off an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.

Discount Code: BIRDLOVER5


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Our Family Winter Bird Study

Our winter bird study has included a lot of watching out the window at our feeders. They’ve been super busy with all the wintery weather, including snow that hasn’t melted and covers the landscape. I keep track of the birds in our feeders as part of Project Feederwatch and so far this season we had a good number of birds visit.

december birds on chalkboard

There are still a couple of winter migrants that haven’t made an appearance yet like the spotted towhee. We will keep our eyes open!

chickadee at the feeder

In particular, I’ve made a study of the chickadee, learning the difference between the mountain chickadee and the black-capped chickadee. There’s an easy way to distinguish them and I made a page in my nature journal to solidify the information in my brain.

Right now my interests have turned to learning more about bird migration. There’s an exhibit at the High Desert Museum in Bend, OR that features information about migration, called Animal Journeys. I have another month left on my membership there and I’m hoping my hips heal up enough that I can manage a quick visit there to take it all in.

 eagle dec 2018

Here’s an image my husband sent me of an eagle soaring over the river behind our house. What a treat!

That pretty much wraps up our winter bird study so far this season. I know we’ll be continuing to look for and learn about birds because that’s what we do here.

Bird nerds forever.


Looking at your winter resident birds nature study




Bird tab image and link

Are you interested in seeing my picks for bird related books and field guides? Click over to my bird tab on the website.

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Our Family Autumn Bird Study


October 2018 chalkboard bird list
Excited to have so many birds in October!

In our continuing effort to learn the bird migration patterns in our new habitat, our dining room chalkboard list of monthly birds is a valuable tool. It creates a simple record of birds that visit our feeders, our yard, and fly by our back windows. I copy the list into my nature journal at the end of the month so we’ll be able to see from year to year the birds that come and go throughout the seasons.

meadowlark nature journal page

There was a new bird this month! The western meadowlark became my autumn bird study. I was really glad it appeared before I had my hip surgery so I could go outside and try to take a photo. Even though I wasn’t successful at getting an image, I did get a good look at the meadowlark and its behavior. I used to research this beautiful bird along with my Peterson field guide. These two sources gave me enough information to create a good nature journal entry. I hope to someday hear this songbird singing…perhaps this spring.


Project Feederwatch Nature Journal
Nature journal page from 2017 Project Feederwatch

November 10, 2018 is the first day we can start counting birds that visit our feeders as part of the Project Feederwatch citizen science opportunity. Click over to read more about this important and simple activity for families: Project Feederwatch.

You can read our November 2017 entry here: Project Feederwatch November 2017.

 Project Feederwatch button

This is a perfect way to start or continue an autumn bird nature study with your family even if you don’t know the identity of all the birds that come to your yard. This project will help you learn as you go. Click the logo above for a video that explains how to participate.


How did your autumn bird study go this time around?

 Autumn Bird Study @handbookofnaturestudy


It’s not too late to do your own Autumn Bird Study!

 Outdoor Hour Challenge Bird Nature Study Index of Challenges @handbookofnaturestudy

Are you interested in seeing my picks for bird related books and field guides? Click over to my bird tab on the website.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Bird Study 2018

First, a quick reminder that the Great Backyard Bird Count is February 16-19, 2018. This is a perfect way to learn more about your winter birds!

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Winter Bird Study 2018

From the Archives and the Winter Wednesday ebook

You can use the link above to look at the winter bird study activity in my archives.  Your family may be interested in learning more about feeding your own backyard birds in the winter. To help you do this, I put together a page that explains how to keep Birdfeeders in Winter.

Downy Woodpecker Bird Birdfeeder suet (3)

In winter, birds still need the basics: food, water and shelter.

Learning About Birds 3D cover

Plus you may be interested in taking a look at my Learning About Birds With the Outdoor Hour Challenge ebook for a more in-depth study of backyard birds. For the month of February, I’m offering a $5 off coupon for every level of membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study. This ebook is in both the Ultimate and Journey levels of membership. Take a look at all of the benefits of having a membership!

Discount Code: $5 off any membership on the Handbook of Nature Study by using the code FEB5 during the month of February 2018.


If you have access to the Winter Wednesday ebook in the Ultimate Naturalist Library, there is a custom notebook page available to use as a follow up to your nature study.

Winter Wednesday ebook NOtebook pages

Join us for the Winter Wednesday series of challenges here every FRIDAY. You can find them under the winter tab on the blog or if you have an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership, you can find the ebook there for downloading.
You may be interested in following my Bird Nature Study Pinterest board for lots of bird nature study ideas.

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Project Feederwatch – November 2017

Project Feederwatch – November 2017


I’ve been eagerly awaiting the start of Feederwatch season here in my new habitat of Central Oregon. Our new yard has been a challenge of sorts for hanging bird feeders because of the other critters that have decided to partake of the seeds and suet. It was a mystery to me how I could fill up my rather large feeder late in the afternoon and then awake in the morning to a completely empty feeder! I didn’t realize how fast the deer could drain the feeder.

squirrel in the feeder

Then there are the squirrels that just help themselves.

My husband came to my rescue by fabricating rather tall poles for the feeders to hang on and so far this has solved my problems!

So what is our setup?

I have three different feeding stations, one in the front yard and two in the backyard.

The front yard feeder seems to attract the little birds like chickadees and nuthatches. I read somewhere that when the temperatures drop the birds like a suet feeder, so I added that when I took down our hummingbird feeder. There is still a bird bath but I’m not sure how I’m going to keep it from freezing. I saw at the Wild Bird store you can buy a little heater so if it’s within my budget, I will get one the next time I’m there.

Suet and Seed feeder

Closer to the house in the backyard, I’ve hung a new suet feeder and a new cylinder seed feeder. I haven’t observed many birds at the new style of feeder so I’m wondering about location. We may move the feeder back to the fence line closer to the trees if we don’t start to see the bird traffic to the feeder increase.

Feeders in the snow

This is where all the action happens! We see lots of birds at this feeding station, both at the feeders and under the feeders. I have mostly black sunflower seeds in the hopper feeder and I rotate the variety of suet I use in the suet feeder.

Here are our Project Feederwatch results from our first count:

Scrub Jay -2

Mourning dove -3

Chickadee -5

Junco -5

Varied thrush -2

Red breasted nuthatch -2

Hairy woodpecker -1

Spotted towhee – 1

House finches – 6

Pine Siskin -1


In addition, we heard and then observed a Red-tail hawk in one of the pines in back of the house and two ravens flying overhead. They don’t officially make the Project Feederwatch list since they were not in the feeder, but I made a note of their appearances in my records.

I will be posting monthly Project Feederwatch data as the season continues.

Learning About Birds 3D cover


Don’t forget about the Outdoor Hour Challenge – Learning About Birds ebook that is available to both Ultimate and Journey level members.

Learning About Birds ebook Bird List @handbookofnaturestudy

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Bird Migration and Feederwatch

nesting box

I am fascinated by birds that migrate. It makes me feel an awe for such creatures and the way they travel up to thousands of miles as the seasons change. When I lived in California, I was aware of birds and the way they would come and go at my feeders season by season. I could anticipate their arrival and then have a fairly good idea of who would be leaving at the turn of the weather. Project Feederwatch each year made me keenly aware that the birds at my feeders were not the same year round.

thistle feeder

I am getting ready to participate in my first year of Project Feederwatch here in my new home. I have updated my account and created a new description of the feeders and their locations and types. Watching birds is an everyday affair here from my kitchen and family room windows so Project Feederwatch is a perfect match for our lifestyle. I enjoy participating in a citizen science project that helps gather data for those involved in various bird science projects and studies. Plus, it is something that refreshes me and brings a lot of joy to my life. It is something that I can participate in that doesn’t take a huge commitment of time and I can do it right from my own home, even if I am wearing my pajamas.

snag pile for shelter

This is our first autumn and winter here in our new home so we are still experimenting with various feeder types and the placement within the yard. I had an idea to add a brush pile just outside our back fence after we trimmed some tree limbs. So far I have observed birds and squirrels investigating the jumble of limbs with their needles and cones still intact. It isn’t too far from my cluster of feeders so it will provide some shelter for birds once the snow arrives.

bluejay figurine

I started right after we moved in creating a list of bird visitors to our yard. I will be keeping that habit going right on through the next few seasons. This should give us a pretty good idea of the migrant visitors as they pass through or stay for awhile. This is a simple way to get your family started with a more in-depth bird study and I encourage you to keep track of the birds that come to your feeders.

sandhill crane bird

We recently had the experience of hearing and then seeing a group of sandhill cranes fly over our yard. It was about sunset when my son and I were out doing yardwork. I heard in the distance what at first I thought were geese coming overhead. But, it was a strange and unfamiliar sound and not geese at all. (Click over to AllAboutBirds to hear what it sounded like.) My son spoke up when he realized it was the sound of sandhill cranes. He had heard them before when we lived in California and immediately recognized the rattling loud commotion of a group of cranes flying south over our house. It was exciting to experience this for the first time and I have since done some research into the migration habits of the sandhill crane. Knowing how far they fly has given me such an awe for these large birds. I just created a page in my nature journal with this information and I will share the page next week in an entry.

The opportunity to study birds can present itself when you least expect it…look for those opportunities!

Make sure to learn about the Feederwatch program and decide if it is a good fit for your family!


Project Feederwatch button

Bird Sleuth button
There is a wealth of birding information on the internet but I have not found a more homeschool-friendly site than the ones sponsored by Cornell University. I would love to encourage you all to subscribe to their homeschool blog (click the logo above to pop over there now).

You can also follow them on Facebook .
You can download homeschooling resources here.
Of course, my favorite resource is their AllAboutBirds website which is a great tool for identifying and learning more about birds in your own neighborhood.

Learning About Birds 3D cover

I invite you to check out my Learning About Birds ebook available to Ultimate and Journey level members here on the Handbook of Nature Study.

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June 2017 Bird Observations

Bird List for May and June 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

Moving to a new habitat has renewed my desire to learn more about birds. I now live right on a river that has a grassy meadow that leads up to my house. I also live on the edge of a pine forest and at a high altitude. In addition, I live in a place where I will see migratory birds that will only visit for brief periods of time or for a whole season.

It’s a whole new birding world here in Central Oregon.

I have been keeping track of the many birds that visit my yard or fly overhead during the past month and a half. It can be such a distraction to spot a new bird and feel the impulse to drop everything to grab my binoculars and field guide. But, this is part of the reason we moved here; to have our love of nature stimulated again with new and exciting nature experiences.

The people who lived in our house before us were birders as well so they had their binoculars and field guide at the window when we came to view the house. They also had a seed feeder and a hummingbird feeder set up in the backyard which made my heart happy. We have since added three more seed feeders (two sunflower and one nyjer seed), a suet feeder, an additional hummingbird feeder and two bird baths to the yard.

This list is in no way a list of EVERY bird we have had visit our yard. A few of the birds I am struggling with identifying and if I happen to capture a good image, I will share the photos in the hope that someone will know what they are and tell me.

May and June 2017 – First Bird List from Oregon!

  1. Black-headed grosbeak
  2. Mourning doves
  3. Canada goose
  4. Brewer’s blackbird
  5. Red-wing blackbird
  6. Tree swallow
  7. Cliff swallow
  8. Mountain chickadee
  9. American robin
  10. Mallard duck
  11. Osprey
  12. House finches
  13. Northern flicker
  14. Steller’s jay
  15. Common raven
  16. Turkey vulture
  17. Great blue heron
  18. Red-breasted sapsucker
  19. Rufous hummingbird
  20. Bull bat (common nighthawk) – heard early morning


You may be interested in reading this entry about keeping a bird “life list”. There are several suggestions for your family to get started with this satisfying project: Keeping a Bird Life List. It has a free printable list!

Birds of North America Notebooking Pages
If you are looking for a fantastic set of bird notebooking pages that includes all of the birds in the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford-Comstock, this is THE product to have on hand.

I have used these pages with my children and in my own nature journal over the years. Please note that I am an affiliate for and will receive a small commission if you purchase any of their products. I highly recommend this set for your bird nature study. In fact, they go perfectly with my new Learning About Birds ebook challenges!

Learning About Birds ebook Bird List @handbookofnaturestudy

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Chickadees


Outdoor Hour Challenge Chickadee Bird Study @handbookofnaturestudyOutdoor Hour Challenge- Chickadees

From the Archives and the More Nature Study Winter Ebook

This is a week that those that have a backyard feeder are going to enjoy. Chickadees are frequent visitors to many feeders here in the United States. These cheerful little birds are fun to watch and will be a wonderful wintertime bird study for even beginner families. Use the information in the link to the archives post to get started learning about chickadees. Follow up with some discussion and perhaps a nature journal entry.

For those of you who are like me and don’t have chickadees in the feeder, you might want to substitute the titmouse instead. This page on the Audubon website will prove very helpful in a visual way to knowing what chickadees and a titmouse looks like: Chickadees and Titmice. You may also want to view this page on AllAboutBirds: Chickadees and Titmice. Great Backyard Bird Count 2017 Coming Soon @handbookofnaturestudyWe are also getting closer to the favorite time of year for many birders- Great Backyard Bird Count time! Mark on your calendar February 17-20, 2017!

Great Backyard Bird Count


Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter 2016 More Nature Study

If you are interested in purchasing an Ultimate Naturalist Membership at this time, you will gain access to the custom notebooking pages that go along with each of the challenges in the ebook.

Ultimate Naturalist Library June 2016 @handbookofnaturestudy

Note: You do not need to purchase the ebook to participate but they are handy to have for planning and for the regular and advanced notebook pages included in each one. Click the graphic at above to go over to check out the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.

Spring Plans!

We will be working through a new series of wildflower challenges starting in April using a new ebook that will publish sometime in March. The new wildflower ebook will also be added to the Ultimate Naturalist Library so if you purchase a membership now, you will have the new ebook as soon as it is available. I will posting details about the new ebook soon.

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Outdoor Mom’s Journal – December

Outdoor Moms Journal Nov and Dec 2016 @handbookofnaturestudy

Where has the time gone? I was looking back in preparation for writing this entry and realized I never did a November installment of the Outdoor Mom. It certainly wasn’t because I haven’t been outdoors! Our November and so far this December have still been very conducive weather-wise for getting outdoors and exploring.

Red leaves and blue skyOne thing that may have interfered with writing it all up for the blog is the fact that we have been doing some renovations on our home…kitchen and master bath mostly. But, now we are mostly done with that and I can turn my attention back towards sharing our outdoor exploring. (I already posted about our 3 Questions Nature Walk if you are interested in reading that entry.)

Winter Berries collage

If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably noticed our weekly hikes and my images of things right in my own yard. I rarely stay indoors all day no matter the weather. The one thing about this particular time of year is that any color really pops out at you as you venture out and this collage of berries images illustrates this well. Don’t forget…berries attract birds so watch for birds wherever you find shrubs with colorful berries!

Stellers Jay in the feeder
I snapped this image of the Steller’s jay in my feeder. He was swinging around on it so it was hard to get a clear image but you can see his brilliantly blue feathers in this one.

I also started the Project Feederwatch counting in November. This is my sixth season of counting birds for this citizen science project and each year it brings such joy to my heart as I anticipate the arrival and sojourn of so many beautiful birds. This is a way I can give back to the birding community there at Cornell University. My life is better because they share their knowledge and experience with me via the internet.

Would you like to see my list of birds? Here you go! These are the high counts for each bird and we certainly don’t see these all in one day at our feeders but the count has taken place since 11/18/16 so that would account for the variety of birds on the list.

Pigeon – 5
Mourning dove – 2
Anna’s hummingbird – 2
Northern flicker – 5
Black phoebe- 1
California scrub jay (new name!) – 2
Oak titmouse – 2
Western bluebird -6
Northern mockingbird- 1
European starling -6
Cedar waxwing -25
Dark eyed junco -9
White crowned sparrow -6
Spotted towhee -3
House finch -5
American goldfinch -2
Steller’s jay – 1
White breasted nuthatch – 2
Bewick’s wren – 1

 Project Feederwatch button

Bird Sleuth button
There is a wealth of birding information on the internet but I have not found a more homeschool-friendly site than the ones sponsored by Cornell University. I would love to encourage you all to subscribe to their homeschool blog (click the logo above to pop over there now).

You can also follow them on Facebook .
You can download homeschooling resources here.
Of course, my favorite resource is their AllAboutBirds website which is a great tool for identifying and learning more about birds in your own neighborhood.

I would love for other families to join ours in watching your feeder birds. It is super easy and you just need to devote a few minutes a week to getting to know your feeder birds one bird at a time.
So what have you been up to this month? Join me here by commenting or leaving me a link to your blog entry.

 buckeye in autumn

Outdoor Mom’s Journal

Whether your family spends a few minutes a week outside or hours at a time, share what is going on in your world.

How Do You Join?

Answer all or just one of the prompts in a blog entry on your own blog or right here on my blog in a comment. If you answer on your blog, make sure to leave me a link in a comment so that I can pop over and read your responses.

  • During our outdoor time this week we went….
  • The most inspiring thing we experienced was…
  • Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)…
  • In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting….
  • I added nature journal pages about….
  • I am reading…
  • I am dreaming about…
  • A photo I would like to share…


Outdoor Hour Challenge Plans for Sept 16 to March 17 @handbookofnaturestudy

You can use the free monthly newsletter along with the Handbook of Nature Study book for your nature study. Adding a membership gives you access to the Ultimate Naturalist Library’s ebooks and printablse which provides members with even more in-depth studies each month.

Read more about it!

Birds of North America Notebooking PagesBirds of the World Notebooking PagesBirds - Basic Study Pages

These are affiliate links to products I have used and love.