UCLA Campus Bird Count

Winter: Sunday Feb 12th, 2006   6:45am - 12noon

8 birders of all levels of expertise gathered at 6:45am to do the bird count.  We split up into two groups initially, starting with the Native Fragment  and Softball Field in the NW corner of campus, then three groups briefly, then back into one group as we finished with the Botanical Garden.  We covered all of the campus hot spots, logged numbers for almost all of the usual birds, and made some exciting findings too: Northern Flicker, Band-Tailed Pigeon, Black-throated Grey Warbler, and Costa's Hummingbird!

Hopefully more campus bird counts will be done in the future.  If anyone's interested in organizing one, I'm happy to provide info, just email jrfinley AT uiuc DOT edu if you're interested.  We also hope to compare these data with observations made by Loye Miller in the 1920s-40s.

Jason Stuck posted a great recap of the count here: http://www.beakspeak.com/archive/2006/02/18/birds_of.shtml

by Joy Sun & Jason Finley
(click thumbnail for larger image)

DATA & more Info!
The data were compiled by Bobby Walsh.
Excel file with data from the count: UCLABirdCountData_2-12-06.xls
UCLA Winter bird checklist by Bobby Walsh: UCLAwinterBirdChecklist.doc
Bird Count Preparation Notes (including locations & equipment) by Jason Finley: ucla_bird_count_Notes.rtf
UCLA Common Birds Guide (General): UCLACommonBirdGuide.pdf

Species Count Notes
Mallard 6 Flyovers from campus area, likely going to Japanese Gardens
Cooper's Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 2 (1)Adult and (1)juvenile seen
Ring-billed Gull 10 Flyovers
Rock Pigeon 14
Band-tailed Pigeon 1 Near the Anderson School.
Mourning Dove 25
Yellow-chevroned Parakeet 16 Feeding at Pink Cedar and Floss-silk Trees, a few birds may have been counted twice
Anna's Hummingbird 14
Costa's Hummingbird 4 These were all restricted to the native fragment
Allen's Humminbird 18
Nuttall's Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1
Black Phoebe 22
Western Scrub-Jay 13
American Crow 54 One group of 8 was seen feeding at flowers of a Coral Tree
Common Raven 9
Bushtit 42
Bewick's Wren 4
House Wren 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 19
American Robin 2
Wrentit 2
Northern Mockingbird 5 It seems like there were more of these…but mybe that's just because they're loud
European Starling 12
Cedar Waxwing 17
Yellow-rumped Warbler 60 Most abundant bird
Black-throated Gray Warbler 1 Near Murphy Hall.
Common Yellowthroat 1
Western Tanager 4 Feeding at Pink Cedar; one was aggressive to another tanager & a waxwing in the tree
Spotted Towhee 15
California Towhee 13
Song Sparrow 3
House Finch 44
Lesser Goldfinch 11
House Sparrow 6 Undercounted; most come out to terrorize people eating outside on weekdays
Unidentified hummingbirds 24 These were back-lit or heard only birds, so feasibly Anna's or Allen's
Unidentified drumming woodpecker 1 Heard only
TOTALS 498 36+ species (depending on what the unknown-but-probably-Nuttall's-drumming-Woodpecker really was)
Note: One area we missed was the Math-Science Quad, which would have almost certainly boosted the numbers for House Sparrows (who love to hang out at the Bombshelter Eatery) and Lesser Goldfinches.
Birds Regularly Seen But Missed During Count
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 seen on 2/06
Killdeer Almost always on the athletic fields, but has been absent lately
Western Gull Seen along Le Conte this week
Downy Woodpecker 1 seen 2/11
Hermit Thrush Seen in Botanical Garden this week
Orange-crowned Warbler 2 seen on 2/11
Townsend's Warbler Seen this week
Brewer's Blackbird Several seen in Westwood this week (but not on campus for a while, strangely)


Some More Stats:
Observers: Bobby Walsh, Jason Finley, Joy Sun, Julia Hicks, Pat Aquino, Jason Stuck, Irwin Woldman, Wendy Su
Total Birds Seen: 498
Total Species Seen: 36+ (depending on what the unknown-but-probably-Nuttall's-drumming-Woodpecker really was)
Most Abundant Birds (10+ seen of each): Yellow-rumped Warbler>American Crow>House Finch>Bushtit>Mourning Dove>Black Phoebe>Ruby-crowned Kinglet>Allen's Hummingbird>Cedar Waxwing>Yellow-chevroned Parakeet>Spotted Towhee>Anna'sHummingbird/Rock Pigeon>Western Scrub-Jay/California Towhee>European Starling>Lesser Goldfinch
Short Term Changes Seen: Dr. Gregory Schrott from 1994-2001 called the Y.R. Warbler the most abundant bird on campus in winter, which is still the case.  However, the situation with hummers has changed: Anna's was an "abundant breeding resident" and Allen's only "Very common migrant, occassionaly overwinters in garden".  No more Mitred Parakeets either.
Long Term Changes Seen (this is just a brief note; a more detailed comparison is to come): Comapred to the 1920s-40s, many former residents are gone (e.g., CA Quail, Acorn Woodpecker, Burrowing Owl) or much less numerous (e.g., Oak titmouse, Northern Flicker, WC Sparrow)…, but there are some new residents too: Loye Miller didn't have parakeets or overwintering Allen's Hummingbirds or European Starlings.
Rarest Bird Seen: Black-throated Gray Warbler (wrong season for one!)
Biggest Missed Birds: Brewer's Blackbird, Killdeer, Townsend's & Orange Crowned Warblers
Total Distance Walked (courtesy Google Map feature) ~5.3 miles
Best Tally-Keeper Ever: Wendy
Counters with a Bird Website: 25%
Counters with Names Starting in "J": 50%
Worst Things Dropped on Faces: Bushtit poop (Bobby), Floss-silk fruit, two pieces of (Joy)
Most amazing birding feat: Irwin identifying a Cooper's Hawk with a half-second glimpse of it in the distance just as it soared out of sight behind Schoenberg Hall.


Compare these data to the following quote from Loye Miller:

“Miss Dorothy Groner of the Audubon Society and the Cooper Ornithological Club was good enough to give me the results of her bird count of January 30, 1944.  She was on continuous duty from 8:30 till 5:30 on a drippy, drizzly sort of day, but she checked up forty-three species and a total of 1,571 individual birds.”




Original Annoucement:

On Sunday, February 12th, 2006, Bobby Walsh and I and a few others will be counting birds at UCLA to compare to historic patterns based on observations by Loye Miller over 60 years ago. If you'd like to join us, we would appreciate your help -- we are meeting at 6:30 a.m. at the corner of Veteran Ave and Sunset Blvd. Free parking can be found along Veteran nearby. We expect to probably take half the day.

We'll basically be spotting birds, logging them on a clipboard, and moving on. But we plan to definitely spend time in the major bird hot spots on campus: the Native Fragment (northwest corner), the Botanical Garden (southeast corner), the Athletic Fields, and a few others.

We may split into two or more small groups to cover more of campus. Anyone can join and help, no matter what his/her level of experience. We'll need a few people spotting and a few recording the sightings.

All you'll need are: good shoes, a bottle of water, sunscreen/hat (if you need it), and optionally: binoculars, camera, bird field guide. You'll get a tour of some lovely and little-known spots on campus, and of course have fun seeing and hearing a bunch of birds!

If you'd like to join in or would like more info, just drop me a line (change the "AT" to a "@").

The data we collect will be made available here on Birds of Westwood.
We also plan to do a count in the summer.
Please spread the word to anyone who may be interested!

~Jason Finley


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