For the Birds Radio Program: Christmas Bird Count 1986

Original Air Date: Dec. 22, 1986

Laura gives the recap for this year’s Christmas Bird Count.

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Transcript

Rock Pigeon

Christmas Bird Count Results

(Recording of a Boreal Chickadee)

Duluth had its third best Christmas Bird Count ever Saturday, and beat our long-time rival, Rochester, as well. 53 species were seen, and a few others may still be added. An unidentified hawk was seen chasing birds in the east end–if it turns out to be a Sharp-shinned Hawk, that will boost the total to 54. And a possible Brewer’s Blackbird has been visiting a Lakeside feeder–if its identification is confirmed, that will bring the total to 55. In addition, none of the counters saw a Bufflehead, Rough-legged Hawk, Saw-whet Owl, Brown Creeper, Cardinal, Red Crossbill, or Snow Bunting, any of which may have been somewhere in town on Saturday. If you saw any of these species on Saturday, please call Kim Eckert at 525-6930. Rochester’s total was only 48 as of Saturday night, but they may be adding a few more from feeder reports too, so a few extra birds would definitely help.

Several very unusual birds were spotted on the count. Perhaps the best find of the day was a Northern Hawk-Owl, seen near the Lester Park Golf Course. Three extremely unusual gulls were seen along with Herring and Glaucous Gulls. These rare ones were a Great Black-backed Gull, two Iceland Gulls, and two Thayer’s Gulls. Some fishing boats are still dumping fish heads at the landfill, which contributed to the fine gull count–all together, 330 gulls were still hanging around. A Varied Thrush is visiting a feeder on the East End. Four Red-winged Blackbirds were still around, and at least nine grackles were seen. Record numbers of Black-backed Woodpeckers, Boreal Chickadees and Gray Jays were seen, and we tied our record for Northern Shrikes–11 were seen in town, including one that flew into a tree in my yard as the youngest group of counters watched.

The most abundant species, as usual, was the good old Rock Dove– also known as the pigeon. There were 4,593 of them. There were more than 1,800 Starlings. The chickadee soundly beat out the House Sparrow for third place, and the only other species with more than 500 counted were Bohemian Waxwings and Common Redpolls.

The winner of the Most Determined Counter Award goes to seven-year- old Gaylin Treuer, who worked against impossible odds to find a Black- backed Woodpecker in the Pine Woods near Hawk Ridge. The Best Squeaker Award goes to Terry Wiens, whose impeccable mitten-kissing technique brought in a Great Horned Owl and the only Barred Owl seen on Count day. Finally, the winner of the Most Cooperative Bird of the Day Award goes to the Snowy Owl which sat on the Norwest Bank sign on Haines Road all day.

(Recording of a Boreal Chickadee)

This is Laura Erickson, and this program has been “For the Birds.”