Creepy Crawlies with Christy 022317

Creepy Crawlies with Christy 022317

By Christy Pitto

For The Independent


slate junco in pine ed 1 sm sd

This week Crawlies goes to the birds, which is an easy thing to do in the Upper Rogue because we have a lot of birds. What is a “lot”? Well, a friend once asked me to put together a photo sheet of “all the birds in your yard”. I advised that was a pretty daunting task. They said “It can’t be that many, like what? Fifteen or twenty different birds?”

At which point I had to pause the conversation while I doubled over with laughter. I submit checklists to eBird ( ) and the species count from my yard is now at 84 species. From just my yard. Now, I live in the Riparian Zone which we know is crazy with plant and animal diversity, but there’s a lot of riparian areas in the Upper Rogue. None of us is ever very far from water and that makes our area Birdvana!

Let’s look at some more numbers; the Great Backyard Bird Count (sponsored by Cornell, Audubon & Bird Studies Canada) was held February 17-20. Folks from all over the US and Canada count bird species in their yards, or in parks, on hikes, etc. and submit checklists to the GBBC website. The total number of species for Jackson County was 119, and that’s in February before many of our spring/summer birds arrive.

I spotted 30 species in my yard over the 4-day period putting me 9th out of the Top 100 in the County for number of species. The number one checklister hit up some major area birding hot spots (yes, all near water; the river, Lost Creek Lake & a few area ponds) and he spotted a whopping 76 species of birds in just 3 out of the 4 days.

Yep. We have a lot of birds here in the Upper Rogue.

Pictured is a personal favorite, the Slate-colored Dark-eyed Junco. I get a ‘gazillion’ Oregon Juncos in my yard, but only a few Slate (they are actually the most common form, but are an Eastern form usually).