Here are the preliminary totals and comments about yesterday’s Rockford CBC. I am still missing 1 field team report and most feeder reports.

68 species are confirmed so far. We found a number of interesting and not-often-seen species, together with some large numbers of the annual birds. For instance, we have already set new count highs for Cardinal (655), American goldfinch (586), and Cedar Waxwing (264). Tied for high counts were Barred Owl (16), Carolina Wren (3). Then there are new highs for the rare/unusual birds: Snowy Owl (1) (previously recorded on the Rockford CBC only in 1965), Northern Shrike (7) (previous high 4), Brewer’s Blackbird (2), and Savannah Sparrow (5).

Including the Snowy Owl, 6 species of owls were seen. A Sandhill Crane persists (and was seen again today), a couple of Green-winged Teal and 4 Wilson’s Snipe are hanging out in some spring-fed open water areas, 9 E. bluebirds, 3 Fox Sparrows, 8 Common Redpolls, 4 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 1 Common Grackle, 13 Red-winged Blackbirds, 1 Winter Wren all were nice finds.

Misses so far include Snow Bunting, Lapland Longspur, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Pine Siskin, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

The freezing rain and crusty snow over the previous 10 days, combined with snow all day long on count day, and frozen still water, certainly impacted the results. Virtually no geese or other waterfowl were at the Howard farm on IL 70, no diving ducks were in the Rock River, only 4 individual gulls were seen, 2 each of Herring and Ring-billed. The snow over the roads covered the road edges, so there weren’t any spots for Horned Larks, longspurs and Snow Buntings to eat seeds and find grit. We only have 12 Horned Larks recorded so far. No Gray Partridges were seen. If anyone sees a Gray Partridge, please call the NCIOS hotline to report the day, time and location, plus please post on this blog. This species is getting rarer and rarer in IL.

This is a big year for Northern Shrikes across northern Illinois. Keep your eye on IBET or Illinois Bird Forum for a discussion of this species as the winter season progresses. They seem to be reported from most every county, and are even turning up in central Illinois, with one record in southern IL.

Thank you to everyone who came out in the snow and helped with the CBC. I had a lot of fun birding in the snow, but the crusty and sometimes icy conditions made walking and driving difficult. Don’t forget the Kishwaukee CBC on December 29. Please call (815-968-4732) or email Barbara (twotringas@inwave.com) if you can help out.

Dan