We had a great Christmas Bird Count in 2011; 38 people in 15 parties participated. We saw 119 different species, 1 additional race (Red-shafted Flicker), 1 additional race hybrid (Red/Yellow = “Orange-shafted” Flicker), and 2 additional species during Count Week (Snowy Egret and Common Yellowthroat). Anything over 110 species is a great count for us. A species total of 119 is even more remarkable this year because numbers of most small land birds were way down. In the words of longtime counter Ernie Wilson, “The birding was the worst in [the northeast Oklahoma City] area since Dave [Evans] and I started [many years ago].”
The low number of land birds was likely due to the drought last summer, which resulted in a decreased amount of seed produced by plants, leaving many seed-eating land birds with little food for the winter. Bucking this trend, however, were Field Sparrows; we found 115, a new high for our count. Also nice to see were 15 American Tree Sparrows (reports coming from 4 parties).
On the other hand, most duck numbers were quite high this year. We had new high numbers for 4 duck species: 511 Northern Pintails, 499 Canvasbacks, 451 Ring-necked Ducks, and 342 Hooded Mergansers. Some of the notable rarities were 2 Western Grebes, 9 Great Egrets, 2 Thayer’s Gull, 1 House Wren, and 12—yes 12—Eastern Phoebes (reports coming from 4 parties).
Thanks to all who participated on the count and in bringing food to the Count Tally Party. A special thanks to Diane Newell and her friend Sally Coates who hosted the Tally Party at Diane’s house. Also I would like to thank Pat Velte for data entry.
John Shackford, Compiler
|American White Pelican||127|
|Great Blue Heron||101|
|Bald Eagle Adult||2|
|Lesser Black-backed Gull||1|
|Great Horned Owl||5|
|“N. Flicker, Yellow-shaft”|
|“N. Flicker, Red-shafted”|
|“N. Flicker, Orange-sh (hyb)”|
|American Tree Sparrow||15|
|Species: (count day)||119|
|Count Week: Snowy Egret||1|
|Count Week: Common Yellowthroat||1|