Connecting with Nature

Tracking Nature in NCW

The annual Christmas Bird Counts showed a decrease in the number of American robins in North Central Washington compared to recent counts, according to local birder David St. George.

The drop is presumably due to the shortage of berries that make up much of their winter food. Other common winter birds such as dark-eyed juncos are abundant and easily spotted at feeders and on the ground where they forage for seeds. Great blue heron numbers are holding steady along the rivers and lakes that stay open through the winter freeze.

We invite you to join others across NCW this winter in creating a naturalist’s journal for our region at Submit entries on your own or team up with a friend or family member to record your observations of the first three indicators we will track in 2011: robins, dark-eyed juncos and great blue herons.

Record the date and time, location, observer, weather notes and your observations. We’ll highlight your contributions in the April edition of Greenways and suggest other plants and animals to track into the spring and summer. Together, our observations will chronicle trends and changes and provide a legacy for future generations to build upon.

Nancy Warner is coordinator for the Initiative for Rural Innovation & Stewardship (IRIS), a non-profit dedicated to fostering sustainable rural communities by connecting people, place and possibility.

This piece is also published in the Wenatchee World at

Start a journal and track: date/time, location, observer, weather notes, and your observations. Share your observations with the community by posting them here as comments. Submit entries on your own or team up with a friend or family member. Together our observations will chronicle trends and changes and provide a legacy for future generations to build on.

Post your observations by adding to the comments in the link immediately below. See recently added comments to Keeping an Eye on Nature, Oct. 4, 2010.

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3 Responses to “Tracking Nature in NCW”

  1. Clara Field says:

    Today, January 7, about 15 juncos are feeding on whatever they can find, mostly on the ground. Since it’s about the same number as the other day, I wonder if it’s the same flock?! It’s warmer today- 31 degrees- and a lot of ground is showing through the snow so the juncos can stratch the ground for food. Oh, by the way, this is on Okanogan Ave.

  2. Clara Field says:

    On Tuesday, January 4, 2011, at about 11:15 am, 8 dark eyed juncos were in my garden feeding on dried sunflower seeds from flowers I had grown this past summer. I thought the seeds had been finished off earlier in the season, but I hadn’t pulled out the dead stalks yet and apparently the juncos were still finding some seeds! One or two checked out the small bird feeder I had hung in a tree, but they were more interested in scratching around on the ground and in the old sunflower stalks. It was about 18 degrees F and cloudy. About 8 more juncos were in the neighbors yard, also eating sunflower seeds. They were there for about 25 minutes. They are so fun to watch.

  3. David St. George says:

    On January 4, 2011, at 3:30pm, I observed 12 American Robins feeding on cherries in the trees in front of the Wenatchee Post Office. Interestingly, I did not observe any robins while birding for 8 hours in the same area during the Wenatchee Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, January 2nd.

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