22 Dec 2018 Kishwaukee Christmas Bird Count results

Birding was generally very slow on the count. I believe that the gentle temperatures and the lack of snow allowed the birds to stay dispersed and probably many were still north of their usual winter range, especially waterfowl.
We had high counts of Eastern-screech Owl, with 9 to tie the record, and 12 Barred Owls, breaking the old record of 8. The old record of 50 White-throated Sparrows was bumped up to 54 this year. A vocal Eastern Meadowlark and a “count week” Northern Shrike were nice surprises.
Low counts were throughout the waterfowl, only 2 Pine Siskins (!) and, surprisingly, no Fox Sparrows, Sharp-shinned Hawks or Rough-legged Hawks. Winter roadside birds, Horned Larks, Longspurs & Snow Buntings were in short supply.
The star of the count was the Cape May Warbler that Joel coddled for several weeks at his backyard feeders, just inside the edge of the CBC circle. The bird has continued to hang on and is still present as I write this. It will probably be a long time until there is another Cape May on a local CBC.
7500 starlings at the Edson Road landfill were quite a show. It is hard to get a grip on that many birds and hard to get a good estimate of the numbers.

The final tally was 62 species plus one “count week” Northern Shrike. We had 31 counters participating in the field, plus 4 feeder watchers. The list of all species is at the end of this post.

This was the 29th year of the Kishwaukee Christmas Bird Count.  You can see the results of this count, and all of the others, at the National Audubon Society’s website at http://www.audubon.org/bird/cbc.

At the risk of yammering on and on, I want to share a brief illustration demonstrating the value of your volunteer effort on the CBCs:

Many of you know that we have been participating in the Baudette CBC in Northern Minnesota for more than thirty years. In the early years, American Crows & Rock Pigeons could only be found in tiny numbers around the grain elevators in town. About 15 years ago Starlings and House Sparrows started to show up in small numbers in town, and a couple of House Finches appeared at feeders. In the last couple of years Crows, Starlings, House Sparrows and Rock Pigeons have been found in substantial numbers in town and have spread out to the farms in the countryside. This year our most unusual birds were Mourning Dove, Junco, Brown Thrasher, Red-bellied Woodpecker and American Robin – all more southern birds that were unheard-of on those CBCs 30 years ago.

The CBCs give a picture of the changes in bird populations over large regions and over spans of time. Any one year, or one CBC circle, may show a few interesting occurrences, but their real importance is that when taken in the aggregate the CBCs give valuable insights into the changing patterns of bird movements, ranges and population densities. 

SAVE THE DATES!  The next Rockford CBC will be held on Dec.14, the Kishwaukee CBC will be on Dec. 21. We hope you can join us for both counts.

On a personal note,  I’ve organized and compiled this count for fourteen years and it is time to hand it over to someone else. I am looking for someone to replace me as the compiler of the Kishwaukee CBC. If you have an interest in getting more involved or organizing a count, or if you know someone who does, please drop me an email. It doesn’t require special skills or great computer ability, just an interest in local birds and birding.

Thanks again for all your time and effort. Have a very Happy New Year!

Barbara Williams, compiler


Kishwaukee Christmas Bird Count results

6          Cackling Goose

1855    Canada Goose

70        Mallard

6          Common Goldeneye

28        Common Merganser

60        Wild Turkey

3          Great Blue Heron

30        Bald Eagle (15 ad., 15 imm.)

11         Cooper’s Hawk

71        Red-tailed Hawk

21        Ring-billed Gull

225      Herring Gull

1          Thayer’s/Iceland Gull

1000    Rock Pigeon

62        Eurasian Collared-Dove

417      Mourning Dove

9          Eastern Screech- Owl

11         Great Horned Owl

12        Barred Owl

2          Northern Saw-whet Owl

9          Belted Kingfisher

1           Red-headed Woodpecker

155      Red-bellied Woodpecker

3          Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

178      Downy Woodpecker

35        Hairy Woodpecker

28        Northern Flicker

7          Pileated Woodpecker

15        American Kestrel

1          Peregrine Falcon

CW      Northern Shrike

186      Blue Jay

486      American Crow

40        Horned Lark

322      Black-capped Chickadee

25        Tufted Titmouse

29        Red-breasted Nuthatch

211       White-breasted Nuthatch

29        Brown Creeper

4          Winter Wren

2          Carolina Wren

3          Golden-crowned Kinglet

58        Eastern Bluebird

237      American Robin

5          Hermit Thrush

9116     European Starling

259      Cedar Waxwing

20        Snow Bunting

6          Yellow-rumped Warbler

1          Cape May Warbler

296      American Tree Sparrow

998      Dark-eyed Junco

2          White-crowned Sparrow

54        White-throated Sparrow

16        Song Sparrow

351      Northern Cardinal

1          Eastern Meadowlark

9          Brown-headed Cowbird

300      House Finch

22        Purple Finch

2          Pine Siskin

184      American Goldfinch

1217     House Sparrow

Total species – 62 plus 1 Count Week

Boone 2018

As some of you may be aware, I was attempting a big year in Boone Cty this last year. I ended up with 215 species, which was a little lower than the 230 I was hoping for, but this was not a very good year for shorebirds, and that was one area that I ended up being distinctly low on. The first bird I had at the beginning of the year was Red-bellied Woodpecker, and the last bird was Peregrine Falcon.

215 is definitely better than the 198 I had last year, but I do have some big gaps in the list, as I said I ended being low on shorebirds, but I also missed pelican, a few warblers, all of the Terns, and surprisingly enough, any swans.

Some that I did managed to find were: American & Least Bittern, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Hooded Warbler, Black-billed & Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Summer Tanager, Red-shouldered Hawk, Snowy Owl, Long-eared Owl, Surf Scoter, Carolina Wren, Northern Pintail, and of course, the Townsend’s Solitaire from the Christmas Bird Count.

Overall, I am pleased with this number, although I hope to turn out a better year in the future.