2017 Christmas Bird Count

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Fifty hearty souls participated in our December 16, 2017 CBC. It was very windy throughout the day with sustained southerly winds of 15-20 mph (gusts approaching 30 mph). Temperatures were mild with a morning low of 32 degrees and an afternoon high of 61 degrees. Expectations were not high due to the wind but they were sure exceeded once the 21 count teams started reporting – we tallied 127 species (71,881 individuals) through 127.25 collective party-hours (walked 46.33 miles, drove 327 miles) and 1.5 hours of owling.

An immature Snowy Owl was found at Lake Overholser on the bank (far NW corner) and likely was a different owl than the ones recently found at Lake Arcadia and Will Rogers Airport! Other rare birds include two Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (Myriad Gardens), Red-necked Grebe and Pacific Loon (Lake Hefner), American Bittern (little wetland near the Oklahoma River), Neotropic Cormorant (Lake Hefner), Northern Goshawk (near Oklahoma River), Inca Dove (OKC Zoo) and a flock of 40 Red Crossbills in a hedge of Arborvitae at the OKC Golf and Country Club.

Noteworthy birds we’re getting a bit spoiled by finding them more on a regular basis include nine Great Egrets, 29 Black-crowned Night-Herons, one Peregrine Falcon (chasing pigeons in the downtown business district), two Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 22 Forester’s Terns, 12 Eastern Phoebes and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher below Lake Overholser.

Also, it was a bonus to get Blue-winged Teal, Eared Grebe, Ferruginous Hawk (dark phase), Merlin, Greater Yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers, Greater Roadrunner, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Winter Wren, Marsh Wren, House Wren, Common Yellowthroat, Chipping Sparrow, LeConte’s Sparrow and small flocks of Rusty Blackbirds and Purple Finches.

A small covey of six Northern Bobwhites at Stinchomb Wildlife Refuge was an excellent find and sure uplifting considering their recent decline.

We missed Loggerhead Shrike, Lapland Longspur which is highly reflective of grasslands/agricultural fields that have been converted to development. We also failed to get lucky on Barn Owl as it had been previously found in red cedar (now removed) at Martin Park. We did manage to still log a Tree Sparrow (retreating southern range).

The number of Herring Gulls (13) seemed a bit down but two teams working both Lake Hefner and Lake Overholser tallied two hundred Redbreasted Mergansers (just two Common Mergansers). Another team worked hard to catch 25,000 Red-winged Blackbirds coming off roost.

We also had a couple of noteworthy Count Week birds (found three days on either side of the Count) including 5-6 swans, Red-throated Loon, Townsend’s Solitaire and a Vesper Sparrow.

We had a very festive compilation dinner (Johnny’s Charcoal Broiler) where kudos were given to John Shackford for his efforts in being the Count compiler/leader for over 10 years while recognizing Bill Diffin’s outstanding leadership (outgoing president) and welcoming our new president, Betz Hacker. Also, appreciation was given to Pat Velte for providing invaluable technical support and to Diane Newell and Patti Muzny for being gracious hosts on previous count parties.

Lastly, many thanks to our counters: Nathan Kuhnert, John Muller, Kathleen Tucker, Steve Davis, Mary Lane, Esther Key, Patricia Flanigan, Neil Garrison, Mark Howery, Sharon Henthorn, Dave Woodson, Sue Woodson, Tracy Franco, Ted Goulden, Bob Judd, Patti Muzny, Brian Muzny, Hal Yocum, Larry Mays, Zach Poland, Aaron Meachum, Diane Newell, Brian Stufflebeam, Carole Sullivan, Marion Homier, John Cleal, Bob Holbrook, Betz Hacker, Bill Diffin, Jerry Taylor, Marilyn Taylor, Jimmy Woodard, Valerie Bradshaw, Mark Delgrasso, John Shackford, Warren Harden, Janece Gratch, Jack Tyler, Doug Eide, Charles Douglas, Cody Barnes, Terri Underhill, Brian Marra, Deanne McKinney, Pat Velte, Betsy Hacker, Morton Payne, Matthew Payne, Johnson Hightower and Steve Parker.

We were missing several regulars too as they were attending to family members in need or were sick/ injured themselves. And apologies in advance if I missed anyone as I will be sure to make this correction as soon as possible!

CBC Contact Info:

Nathan Kuhnert, compiler 
(405) 549-4285 
1723 Caddell Lane
Norman, OK 73069       

Black-bellied Whistling Duck 2   Great Horned Owl 7
Snow Goose (white form) 9   Snowy Owl 1
Cackling Goose 312   Barred Owl 3
Canada Goose 1802   Belted Kingfisher 17
swan (sp) cw   Red-bellied Woodpecker 37
Wood Duck 5   Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 4
Gadwall 302   Downy Woodpecker 40
American Wigeon 11   Hairy Woodpecker 2
Mallard 1120   Northern Flicker 42
Blue-winged Teal 1       Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker 7
Northern Shoveler 269   Pileated Woodpecker 1
Northern Pintail 77   Eastern Phoebe 12
Green-winged Teal 94   Blue Jay 72
Canvasback 50   American Crow 153
Readhead 16   Carolina Chickadee 123
Ring-necked Duck 47   Tufted Titmouse 44
Greater Scaup 25   Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
Lesser Scaup 184   White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Bufflehead 141   Brown Creeper 9
Common Goldeneye 46   Carolina Wren 80
Hooded Merganser 175   Bewick’s Wren 6
Common Merganser 2   House Wren 2
Red-breasted Merganser 200   Winter Wren 12
Ruddy Duck 86   Marsh Wren 2
Wild Turkey 5   Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
Northern Bobwhite 6   Golden-crowned Kinglet 6
Red-throated Loon cw   Ruby-crowned Kinglet 28
Pacific Loon 1   Eastern Bluebird 23
Common Loon 8   Townsend’s Solitaire cw
Pied-billed Grebe 58   Hermit Thrush 3
Horned Grebe 17   American Robin 1667
Red-necked Grebe 1   Northern Mockingbird 54
Eared Grebe 3   Brown Thrasher 3
American White Pelican 325   European Starling 16976
American Bittern 1   American Pipit 4
Neotropic Cormorant 1   Cedar Waxwing 54
Double-crested Cormorant 518   Common Yellowthroat 1
Great Blue Heron (blue form) 90   Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 154
Great Egret 9   Spotted Towhee 76
Black-crowned Night-Heron 29   American Tree Sparrow 1
Bald Eagle 1   Chipping Sparrow 2
Northern Harrier 9   Field Sparrow 6
Sharp-shinned Hawk 4   Vesper Sparrow cw
Cooper’s Hawk 6   Savannah Sparrow 30
Northern Goshawk 1   LeConte’s Sparrow 2
Red-shouldered Hawk 9   Fox Sparrow 16
Red-tailed Hawk 63   Song Sparrow 107
      Harlan’s Hawk 1   Lincoln Sparrow 7
Ferruginous Hawk 1   Swamp Sparrow 1
American Kestrel 20   White-throated Sparrow 13
Merlin 1   Harris’s Sparrow 217
Peregrine Falcon 1   White-crowned Sparrow 19
American Coot 307   Dark-eyed Junco 339
Killdeer 27   Northern Cardinal 267
Greater Yellowlegs 22   Red-winged Blackbird 29824
Least Sandpiper 67   Eastern Meadowlark 74
Bonaparte’s Gull 699   meadowlark sp. 208
Ring-billed Gull 4532   Rusty Blackbird 12
Herring Gull 13   blackbird sp. 2000
Lesser Black-backed Gull 2   Common Grackle 54
Forster’s Tern 25   Great-tailed Grackle 5689
Rock Pigeon 637   Brown-headed Cowbird 70
Eurasian Collared-Dove 230   Purple Finch 4
White-winged Dove 19   House Finch 90
Mourning Dove 59   Red Crossbill 40
Inca Dove 1   Pine Siskin 2
      American Goldfinch 128
      House Sparrow 115
      TOTAL Count Day 71882


See Audubon’s map of all the Christmas Bird Count circles