In the middle of December, I wrote a column about bird counts and the upcoming Great Backyard Bird Count that will take place Feb. 17-20. During the bird count, the Audubon Society encourages all people to spend as little or as much time as they wish counting birds.
After counting, all participants have to do to report their counts is go online and fill out the online checklist located on the Great Backyard Bird Count website.
However, the GBBC is not the only bird count the Audubon Society does.
Danville had a midwinter bird count sponsored by the National Audubon Society on Dec. 17, and the results for this count were just recently released. Reading the results from the midwinter count makes me very excited for the upcoming GBBC.
During the December count, there were 14,429 individual birds counted, representing 68 different species. This count found the most individual birds counted since 1993.
One exciting and interesting bird sighting was of two Tundra Swans seen on Lake Herrington. This is the first time these birds have been sighted during the 63 years this Danville bird count has been going on.
The most plentiful species counted was the European Starling. Ten thousand of the birds were counted — the most since 1993.
Some species had new high counts this year including the Blue Jay with 213 individuals, Northern Mockingbird with 126, Pie-billed Grebe with 20 and the Swamp Sparrow with 10 individuals counted.
Even though the Cedar Waxwing and Purple Finch are usually sighted during the count, neither were reported this time.
Lots of different species were sighted during this count including different species of woodpecker, ducks, hawks, and vultures. For a full list of species sighted and a participants list, you can view the article on the Advocate-Messenger website at http://bit.ly/xilK0T.
If you would like to participate in this year’s midwinter bird count, which is tentatively scheduled for Dec.15, you can send an email to email@example.com with your name and a phone number. Everyone from drivers and tabulators to experienced birders are needed.
If you are not currently an experienced birder, then the GBBC is a great time to get some experience before the midwinter count. I’m really looking forward to it and I hope you are too.
Even if you don’t want to participate in an organized bird count I hope you at least can go outside and enjoy watching some birds.
Amanda’s Animal Fact of the Week
Not all owls are nocturnal. Some owls like the Short-eared Owl are diurnal, which means they are awake during the day. Other owls like the Great Horned Owl are crepuscular which means they are awake at dawn and dusk.