2021 Count Results

Colorado Springs Christmas Bird Counters,

Thank you to all of you for participating in the 2021 Colorado Springs CBC. I appreciate the time and effort that each of you dedicated to make this count a success, and your willingness to follow local health regulations to do so safely.  A total of 152 people participated as field observers and/or feeder watchers across 57 parties within the count circle.  We covered 169 party miles on foot, 367 party miles by car, and totaled 295 party hours for the 2021 count, which is the most ever in 72 years of the Colorado Springs CBC–one hour higher than last year’s previous record.  Through such effort, we found 92 species on count day and five additional count week species.  The 72-year average species count is 80.7 species, though the average since 1990 is 91 species.  We tallied 18,921 individual birds, considerably higher than the 72-year average of 11,510 individuals, and the highest total since 2015.  The average since 1990 is 16,487 individuals.

I have attached the annual count records, which include historical data for the Colorado Springs CBC back to 1950.  The results for the 2021 Colorado Springs CBC are also attached, and are presented by individual count sections with a second tab to describe each count section’s location.

We set or tied a few record high counts for species in 2021, which I suspect is, at least in part, related to the exceptional effort that section leaders and participants made to cover our count circle thoroughly and carefully.  The following species set or tied record highs for number of individuals counted: Great Blue Heron (11 individuals, tied 2012, 2015), Bushtit (331; 298 in 2004), and Spotted Towhee (353; 266 in 2007).  The 13 Evening Grosbeaks documented this year marks the highest count for this species since 1996 and only the sixth time they have been found during the count since then.  Interestingly, recent reports from several feeders in the count circle indicated dozens to hundreds of Evening Grosbeaks have been present locally this winter, but they were not found during the count.  The 295 White-crowned Sparrows recorded this year were second only to the 423 White-crowned Sparrows documented on the 1956 count.

No Canyon Wrens were observed on count day, which has only happened five other times since 1970.  On the other hand, 19 species have been found on every Colorado Springs CBC since 1950.  See if you can guess which species, and then check your answers in the attached historical results!

An Iceland (Thayer’s) Gull was observed at Big Johnson Reservoir on count day; this species had only previously been observed twice during count week (2003, 2020).  A Ross’s Goose x Cackling Goose hybrid (Doubletree Pond) was found for the first time on count day, only having been documented during count week one other time (2011).  A feeder watcher documented a Spotted Towhee x Canyon Towhee hybrid for only the second time on count day (2020), and a Say’s Phoebe (Cheyenne Mountain State Park) was found on count day for only the fourth time (1986, 1993, 2015).  At Big Johnson Reservoir, a Lesser Black-backed Gull (Big Johnson Reservoir) was observed during count week for the third time (2003, 2018), but this species has not yet been seen on count day.  Five Tundra Swans (Big Johnson Reservoir) were observed during count week, which is the first time this species has been documented in the count week.  If you are interested, please take some time to look through the attached historical records.

This event is truly a group effort.  Each year, Colorado Springs has one of the highest participant turnouts of any Christmas Bird Count in Colorado (and, I learned recently, in the entire Western Hemisphere). CBCs are a great way to contribute to the effort to understand and help our bird populations.  I would like to remind you about Cornell Lab’s Seven Simple Actions to Help Birds, among which is contributing to citizen science.  Follow the link to see how else you can easily help birds.

If you have any suggestions for changes or improvements for the Colorado Springs CBC, please share them with me.  Let’s hope we can all share this CBC with one another face-to-face next year!

Birdifully,

Tyler Stuart

Colorado Springs CBC Compiler & Secretary

Aiken Audubon Society

Download PDFs or Excel spreadsheets:

The next Christmas Bird Count will be held on December 17, 2022.

Brush up on frequently-confused birds before the count! Click here…

COCS CBC MapNavigate your count circle. Colorado Springs counters can view their route on Google maps. See interactive map here.

Learn more about Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count.

Aiken’s results from previous years: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020. Complete data is available by signing up for Audubon’s free e-magazine, American Birds, at www.audubon.org/citizenscience.

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