Here on the slopes of Snake Mountain in western Addison County I have
daily feeder records for the early morning hours.
I've tallied species and bird numbers January 1st through January 9th
for 2013-2018 to compare this year with the previous five year averages,
this year vs. last year, and year vs. year. Here are some results.
2018 vs. average of previous five years (early morning samples) -------
Numbers of species per day: 11.1 vs. 11.5 (virtually identical)
Numbers of birds per day: 39 vs 64 (this year only 60% the number of
birds as the average of the five previous years)
Blue Jays: 1.4 times as many this year as the five year average
Black-capped Chickadees: 1.3 times as many this year as the five year
Tufted Titmice: only 0.8 times the number of birds as the five year average
American Tree Sparrows: only 0.6 times the number of birds as the five
Dark-eyed Juncos: only 0.9 times the number of birds as the five year
Northern Cardinals: only 0.26 times the number of birds as the five
American Goldfinch: only 0.4 times the number of birds as the five year
Blue Jays, Chickadees, American Tree Sparrows, and American Goldfinch
are in higher numbers than last year
Titmice, and Cardinals are at lower numbers than last year.
2014 was the most vigorous year for both species numbers and bird
numbers. 2016 had the fewest species and close to the least number of
The total number of species counted while watching the feeders over the
six year period: 28
2013 was an irruption year for Common Redpoll. I did not include the
numbers of redpolls in the analysis above as those numbers would have
skewed the 2013 trends of all the other species. The redpolls averaged
30 individuals a day.
Overall? So far, 2018 is a rather typical year for species, with
overall bird numbers lower than the average of the previous five years,
but identical with last year. 2018 is notable for the lack of species
diversity as the species have been virtually the same every day with the
exception of a Brown-headed Cowbird one day.
As is typical at this location, finches are rare except for a few
Goldfinches and irruptive species in their years of glory. The musical
and noisy mobs of Robins (up to a few hundred or more at a time) up and
down the road are more interested in the juniper berries and seeps with
open water than our feeders. My favorite birds are the White-throated
Sparrows that arrive well before dawn and skulk about in the shrubs by
the feeders gleaning the left-over grain from feederites of the day
before, their white throats the only clue to their identities in the
dark before they disappear as morning light creeps in and Cardinals and
Mourning Doves claim the feeder grounds.