The 5th Annual Trailblazers Christmas Bird Count proved to be another exciting year of birding and citizen science!!!
We had a grand total of 23 birders out on the nature trail to complete our annual Saturday survey. Temperatures were admittedly pretty brutal this year so hats off to all who came and were able to brave the cold. This year's count was not our coldest, but the constant high winds made counting difficult and more than likely impacted our species total.
We ended the morning with a total of 13 species, which is our all-time lowest total for our Christmas Bird Count. The wind definitely reduced bird activity as they seemed to hunker down and be less active in the bitter cold conditions. We did have some highlights including a Red-tailed Hawk that we flushed from its perch on the east side of campus. Also, we all got great scope views of a Mourning Dove as it was perched atop a nearby roof which I'm sure provided some heat on the cold day. We also tallied one Black Vulture and one Turkey Vulture, our second lowest count for this species in our CBC history (we tallied 0 of both in 2017). Finally, our counting skills were tested as we counted multiple flocks of Canada Geese as they passed by and congregated on the baseball field. Our total of 82 was the second highest count we've ever had on a CBC (2017 had an estimated total of 100 birds).
It's hard to believe we're already in our fifth year for the CBC, but this would actually be the sixth year for it if we didn't cancel the count in 2014. Since then, we have rescheduled the CBC two times due to weather - First in 2015 and the second one being this year! Although 2017's count had snow during the count, this year was postponed due to extreme cold and recent considerable snowfall.
Thank you to Mrs. Allen for all of her help and for her expert spotting. I voted her the MVP of the morning as she spotted quite a few birds for us! Also, thanks to all students and families for braving the cold for our great morning together!
Check out some photos from Twitter and the eBird checklist below:
Bethel Springs E.S.--Nature Trail, Delaware, Pennsylvania, US Jan 13, 2018 9:45 AM - 11:15 AM Protocol: Traveling 1.0 mile(s) Comments: Conditions were windy and felt freezing! Temperatures were in the 30s but the wind chill was in the 20s. Partly cloudy skies. Checklist taken from Trailblazers Christmas Bird Count which was rescheduled from 1/6 to today. Trail was very muddy from recent rainfall and snow melt. Canada Goose 82 Black Vulture 1 Turkey Vulture 1 Red-tailed Hawk 1 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 2 Mourning Dove 2 Northern Flicker 1 Blue Jay 2 American Crow 20 Estimate Carolina Chickadee 1 American Robin 7 Song Sparrow 1 Northern Cardinal 5