Deer Run Bird Survey #1

A recap of our first survey of the birds of Deer Run – December 1st, 2007
[read about the D.R.B.S.]

Sunrise at Deer Run

We began our survey at around 6:30 AM with a temperature at 23 degrees and southeastern wind of 10-20 MPH. Cold but tolerable, especially with wand and feet-warmers. We (Birdfreak and Veery) split up in order to cover two large loops of the preserve.

Deer Run Aerial
The above photo shows Deer Run – between the Kishwaukee River on the left and the road on the right. Railroad tracks cut through near the top and that is as far as we went this time out. (The preserve includes acreage north of there as well.) The southern border is a branch of the Kishwaukee River.

From Veery: The most abundant birds were American Tree Sparrows, Northern Cardinals and Red-bellied Woodpeckers. As expected, there were lots of Black-capped Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, Downy Woodpeckers, and many Canada Geese flying over.

Highlight: Four sightings of Barred Owls (perhaps the same individual). It is always amazing at how swift and silent these fine birds are.


From Birdfreak: First bird besides a flock of Tree Sparrows was a beautiful Northern Harrier. The bird took off from out of no where and flew straight towards the camera. Too low of lighting for anything but a blurry picture. Otherwise, most of the birds were the common ones.

The trip overall was quicker than we would have liked due to a fast approaching snow-ice-sleet storm. The cold and wind plus overcast skies made visibility poor.

Total Species: 24 / Total Number of Birds: 527

That little blob is a Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher at Deer Run

6 thoughts on “Deer Run Bird Survey #1

  1. Awesome post–thank for sharing! It sure doesn’t make me miss the c-c-cold! We have some barred owls in our vicinity, but they’re so silent they’re virtually impossible to see. We can hear them, though…

  2. Looks like a great time for sure! We have many Tree’s around but seems like all of the Junco’s have gone to the roads the past few days!

  3. Lana – Some days it would be nice to live in a warmer place but the cold weather always makes Spring even more enjoyable 🙂

    Mon@rch – It was quite fun although hopefully future counts will yield more birds (and perhaps better weather).

  4. Congratulations on your first of many, many, many, monthly Deer Run surveys. It will be fun to see what you find over the months to come. I always find it interesting to compare lists from previous years of the same month.

  5. Vern – We hope to do many!! June is probably the best month so we’ll try to be out several times (seems like a long way off but we all know how fast time flies).

  6. This sounds like such a fun thing to be doing and productive as well. I agree with Vern about comparing sightings during the same month in previous years.

    When I lived in southern NJ, I often went to the Forsythe Refuge, Brigantine, and was fascinated by the comparisons in sightings from year to year. Plus, I usually knew when to go in order to see a particular species of bird. Tens of thousands of snow geese filled the refuge in December. I could usually catch a glimpse of a pair of wood ducks in the spring. I was lucky to catch a number of rare sightings that took place at the refuge as well. I was able to see the snowy owl that graced the refuge in March of 1997, the juvenile purple gallinule in the autumn of 1998, and white pelican and arctic tern in 2003.

    In addition, since I lived on the east coast/Cape May flyway, I had many, many new bird sightings right in my backyard every spring. My favorite memory, though, is looking out my window on the freezing cold morning of January 1, 2004, and spotting a woodcock searching among the dead leaf debris. My heart actually leapt. I grabbed my spotting scope and watched for more than an hour. All the while I feared the poor bird was surely going to freeze to death because I had heard about groups of woodcocks found huddled together, frozen to death, along Cape May roads. I never saw the woodcock again, but I hoped that it would find refuge in the many piles I had made of broken limbs, pine and fir branches, dead leaves, straw, and thick wads of dryer lint.

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