Posted by: skyehaas | January 15, 2015

Gwinn Christmas Bird Count Results

The 21st Gwinn Christmas Bird Count (CBC), held on January 3, yielded exactly 1000 birds of 28 species. Historically, the CBC was originally conducted for eight years from 1980 to 1987. In 2002, the count was resurrected, shifted to early January, and completed every year except for one since.During the 1980’s, the Gwinn CBC averaged 20 species annually. Since 2002, that average has increased to 25. Within this present series, 15 species have been recorded nearly every year. The average number of individual birds seen since 2002 is 940. The three most common species reported this year, Black-capped Chickadee (historical rank #1), Rock Pigeon (#3), and Blue Jay (#9), constituted 55% of all individual birds seen.

Bald Eagles by Beth Olson on the Gwinn CBC.

Bald Eagles by Beth Olson on the Gwinn CBC

As usual, no waterbirds were detected this year. Finches, while not at all numerous, were far more prevalent than last year. Six species were encountered, although goldfinches were drastically reduced from the record 505 birds in 2014. The last major local incursion of northern finches dates back to 2009.
Of the 28 species found this CBC, 18 were more numerous than average. The greatest deviations above historical means occurred among Rock Pigeon, Blue Jay, and Brown Creeper. Species much less common than usual included Common Raven and American Goldfinch. Whereas Bald Eagles, Wild Turkeys, Red-bellied Woopeckers, and Cardinals continue to demonstrate local increases, Common Ravens and Evening Grosbeak have been steadily declining.
Here are the totals (with 2002 – 2014 averages for regular species):
Ruffed Grouse – 8 (mean 4.1)
Wild Turkey – 2, third CBC record
Bald Eagle – 2, adults
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1, third CBC record
Rock Pigeon – 205 (mean 90.0)
Mourning Dove – 55 (mean 37.8)
Red-bellied Woodpecker – 1, third CBC record
Downy Woodpecker – 15 (mean 13.1)
Hairy Woodpecker – 10 (mean 7.5)
Pileated Woodpecker – 3 (mean 3.1)
Blue Jay – 111 (mean 33.0), new high count
American Crow – 32 (mean 43.2)
Common Raven – 8 (mean 21.2), ties previous low count
Black-capped Chickadee – 232 (mean 210.3)
Red-breasted Nuthatch – 50 (mean 39.9)
White-breasted Nuthatch – 26 (mean 13.7)
Brown Creeper – 10 (mean 2.5), new high count
Golden-crowned Kinglet – 13 (mean 8.1)
European Starling – 51 (mean 78.7)
American Tree Sparrow – 1
Dark-eyed Junco – 3
Northern Cardinal – 2, fourth CBC record
Purple Finch – 18
White-winged Crossbill – 22
Common Redpoll – 60
Pine Siskin – 22
American Goldfinch – 21 (mean 133.4)
Evening Grosbeak – 24Thanks to the organizational efforts of Roger and Alice Harbin, we again had excellent participation this year. Feeder observers produced 305 birds of 18 species from 14 locations. Field observers, generating 695 birds of 25 species, comprised Beth Olsen, Debbie Hecox, Cliff Wooten, Alice Harbin, Roger Harbin, and myself.

Brian Johnson
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