Monday, September 1, 2014

1 Observer, 5 Years, 11 Acres, 50 Species

How many bird species use the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden for foraging, breeding, as a water source or for other purposes?

Reflecting on this question, I reviewed my records. Since May 2009, I have been keeping track of bird observations in the Sculpture Garden. So far, I have seen 50 different species in or from the Garden. This includes unusual sightings such as the raft of American White Pelicans I saw flying high overhead on May 2, 2014 or the "just passing through" Magnolia Warbler from May 10, 2013.

Next, I narrowed my inquiry to consider how many species of birds might use the Garden for breeding purposes. Based on my observations, I have seen evidence of breeding for 12 species.

Below is complete list (thus far). Species in red exhibit evidence of breeding:
  • Canada Goose
  • Wood Duck
  • Mallard (nest on the tiny island by Spoonbridge and Cherry)
  • American White Pelican
  • Green Heron (seen nesting in 2012, 2013, and 2014)
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Bald Eagle
  • Red Tailed Hawk (nesting on the lighting structures near the neighboring baseball field)
  • Rock Pigeon
  • Mourning Dove (fledglings observed)
  • Chimney Swift
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Yellow-throated Vireo
  • Blue-headed Vireo
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • American Crow
  • Barn Swallow (possibly - based on observations of recently fledged young)
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Brown Creeper
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • Hermit Thrush
  • American Robin (several nests with young are observed every year)
  • European Starling
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Tennessee Warbler
  • Orange-crowned Warbler
  • Nashville Warbler
  • American Redstart
  • Magnolia Warbler
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Chestnut-sided Warbler
  • Palm Warbler
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • Savannah Sparrow
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Northern Cardinal (fledglings observed)
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Common Grackle
  • Brown-headed Cowbird (based on observing a fledgling being fed by a Chipping Sparrow)
  • House Finch
  • American Goldfinch
  • House Sparrow
I wonder what my 51st species will be! Or if we could pull in a 13th breeding bird species, such as Eastern Bluebird, if we were to put up a birdhouse.