Records of bird sightings kept during the weekend of the Great Backyard Bird Count indicate the typical birds of the late winter season at Valentine. There was not a great variety observed in the area, most notably around the Mill Pond and city park during the very variable weather of the count weekend. Despite the low diversity, there was still a lot of bird activity.
The most prominent fowl were the skeins of flying Canada Goose, with hundreds congregating at the Mill Pond, spending the night on the ice near the always not frozen Minnechaduza Creek. They venture northward daily, usually an hour or two after sunrise, to places where there is apparently ample food. Others seemed to be flying in from southward places, adding to the throng.
At the pond during the weekend were six Mallard sitting on the ice.
Early on Saturday, the 13th, an adult Bald Eagle soared above the pond, searching for its meal of the day. It certainly was not flying around to get a good view of the cattle in the Bull Bash pens.
The remainder of the bird life seen during the count days are regular seasonal residents.
The tally included the Red-tailed Hawk at the park. The usual Rock Dove within Valentine especially linger about the livestock market. Some Eurasian Collared Dove are especially vocal, and are notably the first heralds of spring, with some obviously cooing along north Main street, as they establish a breeding season home with their mate.
Red-bellied Woodpecker are always heard in a vivacious manner on one tree snag or another. Add to the tally, the Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker. Northern Flicker, Blue Jay and flying boisterous American Crow.
There were about a dozen Cedar Waxwing enjoying a seed source within the city boundaries as the weekend was starting.
Small yet expressive Black-capped Chickadee are usually heard saying “hello” when heard and are a cherry resident. A similar tree-bark feeder are the White-breasted Nuthatch which is a prevalent neighbor, being seen or heard at nearly every locality visited during weekend hikes.
A bunch of American Robins were obvious within town at the start of the weekend.
Additional species noted were are the still gathered House Sparrow, itinerant House Finch, American Goldfinch at the feeder on the 400 block of north Main Street, and the darting Dark-eyed Junco. A single, appreciated Northern Cardinal lingered around the Mill Pond. This red bird has not been heard singing, so its spring perspective remains to be heard by an attentive bird watcher.
Warmer weather brought an Eastern Bluebird on February 17th.