The annual Christmas Bird Count was the subject of not one but two articles in our December 2015 issue. Feature writer Sheryl DeVore described Minnesota’s three northernmost count circles, while regular contributor Pete Dunne gave tips for finding more species on a count.
Pete also wrote about Cape May’s Christmas Bird Count, which took place on the first day of the 115th count, December 14, 2014.
Working by boat, by car, on foot, and at feeders, and from the wee hours of the morning until early evening, birders tallied 160 species, including 13 shorebird species, six species of owl, and six warblers — Orange-crowned, Magnolia, Yellow-rumped (Myrtle), Pine, Palm (both eastern and western), and Common Yellowthroat.
More than 105,934 individual birds were counted, 21,000 of which were scoters. Participants picked three Cackling Geese out of a crowd of 2,438 Canada Geese, and they found 7,100 Dunlin, 15 Ipswich Savannah Sparrows, four Eastern Phoebes, one Osprey, and one remarkable Western Kingbird.
Almost as interesting as what was counted, though, were the 88 birders who did the counting.
They included not only contributing editor Pete Dunne and his wife, Linda, but also David La Puma, director of the Cape May Bird Observatory, and several well-known authors, including Richard Crossley (The Crossley ID Guide), Kevin Karlson (Birding by Impression), Michael O’Brien (The Shorebird Guide), Clay and Pat Sutton (Birds and Birding at Cape May, Hawks in Flight), and Scott Whittle (The Warbler Guide). The count compiler was Louise Zemaitis, the talented artist and naturalist.
Where will you be counting birds this year?
Join a count
Last winter, birders conducted almost 2,500 Christmas Bird Counts in all 50 states, all Canadian provinces, and several Central and South American countries and on several Pacific and Caribbean islands. This winter’s count, the 116th, will take place between December 14, 2015, and January 5, 2016.
A count is sure to occur near you. Visit the Audubon website to view a map of local circles, read a history of the Christmas Bird Count, see a summary of the 115th count, and join the fun.
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