Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Up for the Count

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Up for the Count

Article excerpt

The results of The Record's first-ever Birdy 30 Challenge are in, and the message is clear. If you don't spend much time watching birds from your window, you don't know what you're missing.

Consider: Although many folks think that you can't see many birds in North Jersey this time of year, nearly 50 contestants saw a combined total of more than 40 different species in this neck of the woods.

Besides the usual gang of sparrows and mourning doves, sharp- eyed birders saw a great blue heron, two bald eagles and an assortment of other raptors - from red-shouldered hawks to merlins.

The winner of the Birdy 30 is Betty McDonnell of Mahwah. She saw the most species of birds -- 19 -- from one window in a continuous 30-minute period. Most were typical backyard denizens, with a rare hermit thrush for good measure. She wins the nesting box of her choice from Wild Birds Unlimited of Paramus. Congratulations, Betty!

For those keeping score at home, her other birds were dark-eyed junco, white-throated sparrow, downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, tufted titmouse, black-capped chickadee, blue jay, white-breasted nuthatch, house sparrow, fox sparrow, song sparrow, American goldfinch, mourning dove, northern cardinal, house finch, American robin, northern flicker and red-bellied woodpecker.

In all, 47 folks in four states (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Florida) entered. Most common birds: cardinal and junco. Thank you to all who participated!

We hope to hold another Birdy 30 contest next fall, after many backyard bird-watchers put up their feeders again. Maybe next time, folks will be able to send their lists by snail mail (to encourage more people to join in), and we'd like to have a prize winner picked at random so no one thinks they need to see a ton of birds to enter.

If you have any suggestions on improving the contest, contact features@northjersey. …

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