Christmas 2010 Bird Count

Some hunters and anglers miss the boat when they are unwilling
to participate in other non-hunting or non-fishing outdoor
activities.  In early January, my daughter, her husband, and I were
part of the Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count.  The Pennsylvania
Game Commission encourages participation. It was our third
year.

We have an assigned territory within the Bald Eagle State Park
“count circle.” Each location has a 15-mile diameter circle where
all counting occurs.  Our route is in the Marsh Creek Valley, just
over the ridge from the park.  It involves both walking and driving
slowly along a predetermined route. We look, listen, and glass the
trees for birds. My daughter recorded our list.

This year, we spotted 21 different species and 181 total birds
during the three hours that we spent on our route. We walked three
miles and drove the remainder of our route.

It is interesting to compare what we saw this year with past
counts.  We spotted 10 species that we did not see last year, and
three of those (Carolina wren, northern flicker and kestrel) were
also not observed in our Christmas 2008 count.  However, three of
last year’s species did not show up this year: the white-throated
sparrow, tree sparrow, and wild turkey.

So what is a life-long hunter and fisherman doing out counting
birds?  Well, for starters, it is fun, it is good exercise, and it
sharpens observation skills. Knowing the common winter birds and
their calls also adds to my enjoyment when I’m hunting or fishing.
 

On the drive home, but out of our count circle, my son-in-law
John spotted two mature bald eagles perched in a tree along Bald
Eagle Creek.  We parked and watched them for a few minutes before a
passing crow harassed them.  The majestic raptors took to the air
and circled our position.  Although it didn’t officially “count,”
that sighting made our day.

If you are interested, you can “google” Christmas Bird Count and
learn about counts in your area.  Maybe you’ll want to participate
next Christmas.

                                  Christmas Bird Count 2010

Downy woodpecker – 2    Red-tailed hawk – 6                 
Crows – 8

Hairy woodpecker – 1      Red-bellied woodpecker – 2     
Kestrel – 1

Carolina Wren – 3          Pileated woodpecker  – 
1         Blue Jay  –  11

Goldfinch     –   10          Eastern Bluebird –
6                Robin – 20

Chickadee – 25               Golden-crowned Kinglet – 3     
Cardinal – 11

Titmouse – 14                White-B Nuthatch- 9              
Juncos – 29

House Sparrow – 1          Northern Flicker – 1 

Starling – 17                                 (21 species – 181
birds)

Categories: Pennsylvania – Mark Nale

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