The Big Sit! 2008 Statistics

These statistics reflect information submitted by reporting circles. As teams continue to report their Big Sit! results, the statistics on this page will change to reflect up-to-the-minute information.

Team Information: turkeyfeathrs

Captain: Caroline Stafford
Location: Rapid City, South Dakota (United States)

Team Checklist

  1. Canada Goose Branta canadensis
  2. Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
  3. Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii
  4. Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
  5. Merlin Falco columbarius
  6. Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo
  7. Sandhill Crane Antigone canadensis
  8. Eurasian Collared-Dove Streptopelia decaocto
  9. Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
  10. Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata
  11. American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
  12. Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus
  13. Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis
  14. White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis
  15. American Robin Turdus migratorius
  16. European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
  17. Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus
  18. White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
  19. Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis
  20. Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula
  21. House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus
  22. Pine Siskin Spinus pinus
  23. House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Team Notes

Participants: Caroline Stafford; Cap't. Jack Sparrow, faithful Schnauzer assistant

Weather: 35-39F, no wind; mostly cloudy, rain, sleet, snow during overnight hours; about 2" snow on ground at sunrise

Location: eastern foothills of Black Hills of South Dakota, Pennington County

Time At Location: 6 hours

Counted 50+ separate flocks of sandhill cranes passing overhead from 1-3pm, flock sizes ranged from 50 to over 300, estimate 4,000 to 5,000 birds total. Spotted towhee unusual for this date. Neither of the regular downy or hairy woodpeckers showed up today. Last night was first below 32F night when water in the birdbaths froze, also froze berries on woodbine on the chimney. Freezing must be a key to palatability as flickers were eating them this morning off the vines, same thing occurred last year after first freeze.

With snow on the ground this morning and temperatures not getting out of the 30s, this was more of a "Big Stomp your Feet, Blow on your Freezing Fingers" sort of an event today. No wind at all, thankfully. The low pressure system and trailing cold front that brought the snow also brought the sandhill cranes, I have never seen so many in my life! There were several times that the flock was large enough that it stretched past my field of view out of sight in either direction. Some groups came directly overhead, some followed the eastern edge of the foothills of Black Hills where the prairie begins. Sky had broken clouds to the east, it was partly sunny in the Badlands,(about 50 miles due east of my observation point). My guess is there were groups beyond the reach of my binoculars between here and there. Absolutely the quintessential autumn event to see and hear the cranes heading for the Platte River as they have for millennia. I was tickled that the one intrepid Spotted Towhee decided to stay till today, his fellows headed out about 5 days ago. He is keeping company with a group of white-crowned sparrows and was even brave enough to come to the platform feeder on the deck this morning. The blue jay and chickadee "cat/hawk warning system" alerted me to the Cooper's hawk that was lurking in the wild plum trees in my neighbors' yard. I'd have missed that one if they hadn't been having such a hissy fit that I started scanning in the vicinity of their focus of interest and saw him in plain view. Ma Nature handed out the gifts today, for sure. Caroline Stafford

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