Christmas Bird Count

Tom Moore 

After a very late postponement caused by the storm December 17, the count was run on January 2, thanks to the participants who were helpful in adjusting schedules to fit the new plan. Despite the lack of wintry weather on the day of the count and a general pessimism regarding the lack of the usual winter migrant finches and grosbeaks, the final results were not dissimilar from the last few years. 

A tally of 1,066 total birds from 28 species were reported by volunteer field and feeder watchers. Most numerous were 126 chickadees (as usual), followed by104 blue jays and 83 wild turkeys. A large number of evening grosbeaks (107) and 15 pine grosbeaks popped up, mostly at feeders in small flocks across the count circle. Eighteen cardinals would seem to indicate a locally increasing population of that species. For the second successive year redpolls were not seen and only a few mallard ducks remained since the lake was iced over. 

Rare sightings were a red-bellied woodpecker, 6 brown-headed cowbirds, a Carolina wren, 4 tufted titmouse, one goshawk, and (in Eastman under the RR trestle) a single mute swan. Climate changes, housing developments and farming practices appear to have reduced our bird population year round: this year’s Christmas bird count may be a reflection of these changes, but year to year results show a lot of variation. 

Thanks everyone for your patience and participation.