The final reports have been received. The Rockford Count recorded 73 species, plus 2 count week, with a total of 18858 individual birds on count day. I am grateful to everyone who volunteered their time and gasoline to go out into the snow and count birds. I am especially impressed by the team that was out on cross-country skis for 18.5 miles and 15.5 hours!
The deep snow kept a lot of birds around feeders or in sheltered spots, so getting to those places was important. This year, we had 10 feeder watchers, a new count high, which really helped. The feeders produced a lot of birds.
Some highlights: 21 Bald Eagles (8 adults, 13 immatures of various ages), a new count high. 1 Merlin, always rare here in winter, 2 Chipping Sparrows at the Brown feeder (they have been there for around 10 days including count day and were photographed and documented by Joyce), 1 Savannah Sparrow, 2 Carolina Wrens, 7 Winter Wrens (a new count high total), 257 Downy Woodpeckers (new count high), 110 Brown Creepers (new count high), and 806 House Finches (a new count high and probably a new state high, since Rockford held the previous record with 720).
Other species of note: 1 N. Bobwhite, 16 Cooper’s Hawks (quite a few buzzing feeders), 20 Great Horned Owls, 2 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 1 Hermit Thrush, 1 Common Grackle (feeder), 1 Rusty Blackbird, 2 White-crowned Sparrows (1 at feeder), 101 Snow Buntings, 5 Lapland Longspurs, 7 Fox Sparrows (3 at one feeder), 1 Hermit Thrush, 24 E. Bluebirds, 4 Northern Shrikes, 5 Pileated Woodpeckers, 1 Red-headed Woodpecker, 3 Cackling Geese (goose numbers were way down this year, almost certainly because the deep snow forced them to move to places where the snow wasn’t so deep and the water wasn’t frozen), 9 Common Goldeneye and 21 Common Mergansers (both species in the rivers), 1 Killdeer, 4 Wilson’s Snipe, and 89 American Robins (not nearly a count high).
Some folks expressed surprise at seeing a Robin in this snow and cold, but they will stick around as long as they have food and water. The food is essentially fruits on old crabapple, buckthorn and hackberry trees.
Count week birds were 3 Trumpeter Swans seen by Martin Kehoe and an Eastern Towhee, also at the feeder of Bill and Joyce Brown, which was seen on Friday the 19th but not on Saturday the 20th.
Happy New Year!