Birds of SGG

Birds of SGG

By Pat Pepper

2015 Great Backyard Bird Count




Photo by Gary Mueller, Missouri

First, I want to give a big shout out to Stefanie Haerynck for her wonderful organizational skills during SGG’s first GBBC event on Feb. 14, 2015. She made my job as bird guide extremely easy with her handouts, white board, writing utensils, and binoculars for visitors to use.

The first bird walk of the day began at 10am. There were adults and children alike braving the cool, though sunny, weather. I handed them a bird list with accompanying pictures of thirty-four birds that I have seen at SGG in winter and asked them to try to find as many of them as they could.

We began our walk by the birdfeeders behind the Hiram Butler House. As if on cue, a Red-shouldered Hawk landed in the tall oak behind the gazebo and began his repeated “kee-yer” screams. Most likely these were courtship calls as this is hawk courting time. My three-year-old granddaughter, Cora, was in the crowd and began shouting “There’s a Red-shouldered Hawk! There’s a Red-shouldered Hawk!”

While my fledging birders were very excited to see this hawk, I was excited to see the delight on their faces as they studied this beautiful creature through the magic of their binoculars. After viewing the hawk, we looked at the birds coming to the feeders. There were many Northern Cardinals, Carolina Chickadees, and Tufted Titmouse.

In addition to these more common feeder visitors, other species seen throughout the two-hour event were Turkey Vulture, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Robin, Brown Thrasher, Northern Mockingbird, Pine Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Song Sparrow, and many many Common Grackles. The Grackles were quite noisy, flying in and out of the holly trees behind the feeders.

I conducted four bird walks and really enjoyed meeting so many bird enthusiasts and sharing what I know about our fabulous feathered friends. Although this was a fun event for all who participated, we were also taking part in a serious scientific project.

The Great Backyard Bird Count takes place every February over four days—a Friday through Monday. It is a world-wide event. This year, in the U.S., it ended on Monday, Feb.16. Audubon, The Cornell Lab, and the Bird Studies of Canada team up to coordinate this event.

Here are the results of the checklists that were submitted over the four-day event:

Statistics from 2015 GBBC

  • Checklists Submitted:
  • 120,493
  • Total Species Observed:
  • 4,528
  • Total Individual Birds Counted:
  • 15,578,720

Our SGG checklist is one of those 120, 493. Contributing to the study of birds in order to insure their survival should make all of us who contributed in any way feel good about our efforts.

Thanks so much to the staff, volunteers, and visitors who helped find birds. I was in bird heaven with you all!

Happy Birding!

Pat Pepper


Birds Spotted during GBCC 2015 at SGG on February 14.

 All photos courtesy of Cornell Labs


Turkey Vulture

Red-shouldered Hawk



Downy Woodpecker


Blue Jay


American Crow


Carolina Chickadee


Tufted Titmouse


Brown-headed Nuthatch


Carolina Wren


Ruby-crowned Kinglet


American Robin

Brown Trasher

Brown Trasher


Northern Mockingbird


Pine Warbler


Eastern Towhee


Song Sparrow


Northern Cardinal