2016 Christmas Bird Count Summary
by Gary Siegrist
As the week before our December 17th count progressed, dire weather predictions made for a very uncertain count day. Amazingly, for the twenty-nine participants that did come out to count on the forty-eighth annual CBC, we enjoyed mild temperatures and mostly dry conditions. Even the hardy souls that got up before daylight and listened for owls had a near perfect morning.
We had sixty-seven bird species recorded on count day (record is seventy-two set in 2001). This is extremely high considering there was very little open water which typically means low waterfowl species. Some of the notable bird species included the second ever recorded eastern phoebe (one was seen on 1980 count), golden eagle (1), red-shouldered hawk (1), northern shrike (1), rough-legged hawk (6), fox sparrow (3), merlin (1), redheaded woodpecker (3), yellow-bellied sapsucker (3), and swamp sparrow (3). We also had a couple of great count week bird species with both short-eared owl and pied-billed grebe sightings.
All seven different kinds of woodpeckers that occur in our area in winter made the list including a record nine pileated woodpeckers. Raptors were also well represented this year with ten different species seen. We did record a new high count with red-tailed hawk tallying seventy this year, bettering the old record of sixty-nine in 1989.
One of the disappointments, continuing a sad trend, was that ruffed grouse and bobwhite quail, two old-time species that we could count on every year. Either species have not been seen in the last few years. We also missed on northern mockingbird, golden-crowned kinglet and yellow-rumped warbler. Winter finches have not made the trek down the state, so no pine siskin or common redpolls.
We did find American robins (199) and sandhill cranes (320) in good numbers and picked up single common grackle, gray catbird, and hooded merganser. A couple of other good finds were wood duck (2), brown creeper (3), and Carolina wren (2).
A big thanks to all that helped with the count! Save the date for next year’s Christmas Bird Count, which will be December 16th. Mark your calendars now and if anyone who is not already on count contact list or riding in someone’s car for next year’s count and would like to help, please contact Gary Siegrist at email@example.com . Finally, I would like to thank Don & Robyn Henise and before them Ron Hoffman for their years of volunteering as compilers for the CBC.