Training tips for Feb. 15-18 Edmonds Great Backyard Bird Count

Identifying birds.

Due to hazardous road conditions, organizers canceled the Feb. 9 Edmonds Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) training. However, those interested in assisting with the Feb. 15-18 event can still do the training from the comfort of their home computer.

Then, anytime from Feb. 15-18, spend 15 or more minutes watching for birds in your yard or any other place.

-Record the date and start and stop times, your location, weather conditions.

-Record the number of each species that you see. (You can use the “Optional Data Form (PDF)

-Go back to the instructions and see how to type in your data and send it. You will get a reply back to your email confirming that they received it.

Do counts as many times as you want during the four-day period. Produce a separate data form (i.e. “check list”) for each time and place you observe birds.

Yes, many birds are hard to see, let alone identify. Don’t search for birds using binoculars. Instead, using your unaided eyes, watch your lawn, patio, shrubs and trees for movement and birds. Then, without moving your head, raise binoculars to the movement or bird. If it hasn’t flown away, you should get a good look at its size, shape, color and markings.

If you think you know what it might be, google its name and your will find numerous photos to compare it with.

We also recommend taking a photo (you’ll have to zoom), so you can have that to compare. Don’t worry if the photo is crummy or fuzzy, it’s for your use (not photo art).

Before or during the GBBC even, residents needing help can contact Alan Mearns at [email protected]. If you leave your phone number, he will call you back to assist.

Organizers recommend putting out one or more bird feeders (including hummingbird feeders and suet feeders) within view of your home or apartment windows. They don’t have to be permanent installations. Also, you can scatter some bird seed on your patio, lawn or under shrubs.

Basic birds and identifications 

Below is a list of common birds you should see this time of year in Edmonds vicinity. We recommend you refresh your identification skill by googling these species and looking at the online photos!

Anna’s hummingbird

On or near the ground:

Juncos (Darkeye junco)

Steller’s Jay

Spotted towhee

Song Sparrow

Northern flicker

House finch

House sparrow


European starling

Pigeons (aka rock dove)

In shrubs:

Chestnut-backed chickadee

Black-capped chickadee

Red-breasted nuthatch

Bushtits (usually in flocks of 10 or 20)

Bewick’s wren

Higher up (deciduous trees and conifers):


Band-tailed pigeon

On tree trunks:

Brown creeper


Woodpeckers (Hairy, Downy, Flicker and, if lucky, Red-breasted sapsucker and Pileated!)


Bald eagle




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