2018 Christmas Bird Count

Near-perfect weather (sunny skies, light northerly breeze turning calm by early afternoon, high in the mid-50s). Perhaps it was a bit too nice from a listing perspective – birds seemed spread out and a bit inactive. However, as additional parties (19) continued to report after our compilation dinner, we (45 skilled and dedicated volunteers) still managed to tally a respectable 111 species including a total of 154,983 birds!

On the local scale, significant reduction of mudflats around the area lakes due to above-average yearly rainfall coupled with further reduction of habitat (i.e., developments, grubbing/clearing of vegetation on public lands) likely is reflected in our data.

No major rarities although we logged some birds that should not be expected on an annual basis including Black Scoter, Glaucous Gull and Short-eared Owl. Also, Snow Goose, Lesser Black-backed Gull (3) Great Egret, Black-crowned Night-Heron (8), Horned Lark, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Tree Sparrow (15) Purple Finch are noteworthy.

Several teams reported large murmurations of starlings and Red-winged Blackbirds coming off roosts. In fact the Sterling team estimated approximately 100,000 blackbirds at Lake Overholser! We may have set an all-time high count of American White Pelicans (415). The Woodson team found 146 American Goldfinches bringing the group count to 268 and Winter Wrens (15) also made a strong showing.

The trend of more Red-breasted Mergansers than Common Mergansers continued. Also, the upward trend of Eastern Phoebes was demonstrated with a total of 14 birds.

A few misses as always and this year Greater Scaup, American Pipit and Common Yellowthroat were not counted. Golden-crowned Kinglets (2) and Cedar Waxwings (65) seemed way down.

I was impressed that the Diffin team found a light-phase Harlan’s Hawk which demonstrated attention to detail. And speaking of detail, I was so impressed just reviewing all of the checklists and taking note of the individual styles and organizational skills that went into the tallying efforts.

We had several long-standing members back counting again which was special but we missed a few this year due to unavoidable conflicts. Also excited to have several first-time CBC participants that hit the ground running.

A special thank you for your time (118.45 party-hours and 2.5 owling hours) and effort Bill Diffin, Jeff Tibbits, Carla Bruggen, Feodora Steward, Neil Garrison, Mark Howery, Sharon Henthorn, Dave Woodson, Sue Woodson, Ted Golden, Bob Judd, Patti Muzny, Nancy Vicars, Brian Munzy, Hal Yocum, Andy Feldt, Brian Marra, Deanne McKinney, Betz Hacker, Robert Holbrook, Jerry Taylor, Marilyn Taylor, John Sterling, Larry Mays, Aaron Mechem, Morton Payne, Matthew Payne, Johnson Hightower, Ted Cassidy, John Cleal, Marion Homier, John Shackford, Warren Harden, Jack Tyler, Terri Underhill, Jimmy Woodard, Mark Delgrosso, Val  Bradshaw, Patricia Velte, Keith Green, Janiece Gratch, Roy McGraw, Chase Moxley, Jennie Brooks and Nathan Kuhnert.

Our final results will be entered into the National Audubon CBC Portal and then sent to our region’s new compiler, Gene Young. The complete official list is below.

— Nathan Kuhnert, compiler


Snow Goose (white form) 3   Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 7
Cackling Goose 387   Downy Woodpecker 58
Canada Goose 1782   Hairy Woodpecker 6
Wood Duck 3   Northern Flicker 65
Gadwall 138   Northern (Red-shafted) Flicker 3
American Wigeon 62   Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker 1
Mallard 574   Pileated Woodpecker 1
Northern Shoveler 386   Eastern Phoebe 14
Northern Pintail 6   Blue Jay 168
American Green-winged Teal 24   American Crow 168
duck sp. 10   Horned Lark 2
Canvasback 51   Carolina Chickadee 169
Redhead 27   Tufted Titmouse 19
Ring-necked Duck 105   Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
Lesser Scaup 342   White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Bufflehead 165   Brown Creeper 2
Common Goldeneye 38   Carolina Wren 90
Hooded Merganser 83   Bewick’s Wren 5
Common Merganser 28   Winter Wren 15
Red-breasted Merganser 467   Marsh Wren 2
Ruddy Duck 18   Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
Black Scoter 1   Golden-crowned Kinglet 2
Common Loon 8   Ruby-crowned Kinglet 29
Pied-billed Grebe 68   Eastern Bluebird 63
Horned Grebe 54   Hermit Thrush 1
Eared Grebe 1   American Robin 281
American White Pelican 415   Northern Mockingbird 47
Double-crested Cormorant 709   Brown Thrasher 3
Great Blue Heron (blue form) 70   European Starling 7623
Great Egret 1   Cedar Waxwing 65
Black-crowned Night-Heron 8   Orange-crowned Warbler 3
Bald Eagle 2   Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 137
Northern Harrier 5   Spotted Towhee 34
Sharp-shinned Hawk 8   Eastern Towhee 1
Cooper’s Hawk 9   American Tree Sparrow 15
Accipiter sp. 1   Chipping Sparrow 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 16   Field Sparrow 20
Red-tailed Hawk 92   Savannah Sparrow 16
Harlan’s Hawk 1   Fox Sparrow 49
buteo sp. 1   Song Sparrow 122
American Kestrel 8   Lincoln Sparrow 7
American Coot 201   Swamp Sparrow 10
Killdeer 26   White-throated Sparrow 68
Greater Yellowlegs 1   Harris’s Sparrow 218
Least Sandpiper 73   White-crowned Sparrow 11
Bonaparte’s Gull 183   Dark-eyed Junco 302
Ring-billed Gull 7983   Northern Cardinal 297
Herring Gull 38   Red-winged Blackbird 114399
Gull sp. 50   Eastern Meadowlark 41
Lesser Black-backed Gull 3   meadowlark sp. 15
Glaucous Gull 1   blackbird sp. 520
Forster’s Tern 3   Common Grackle 3123
Rock Pigeon 485   Great-tailed Grackle 9620
Eurasian Collared-Dove 105   Brown-headed Cowbird 1034
White-winged Dove 2      
Mourning Dove 74   Purple Finch 1
Great Horned Owl 4   House Finch 80
Barred Owl 1   Pine Siskin 4
Short-eared Owl 1   American Goldfinch 268
Belted Kingfisher 16   House Sparrow 165
Red-bellied Woodpecker 62      
      Total # 154983