First, thank you to all of the area leaders and participants that joined this year’s Colorado Springs Christmas Bird Count. This year, 172 people participated as field observers or feeder watchers in 30 areas within our count circle. Our combined efforts found 98 species on count day and seven additional during count week, for a total of 105 species, the highest on record for the Colorado Springs CBC, dating back to 1994 (average species count = 92.6). We counted a total of 19,362 individual birds this year (average = 17,046).
We had a good number of unexpected species on this year’s count, and leaders and participants did an excellent job getting photos and notes about these species.
Curve-billed Thrasher was found for the first time on our count. The first record of Barn Owl for this count was noted during count week.
Species found for just the second time include: Acorn Woodpecker (also in 2012), American Three-toed Woodpecker (2013), White-winged Scoter (2001), and Double-crested Cormorant (1998).
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was found for only the third time (2007, 2008). A count week Winter Wren was only the third detection of this species on our count (2006, 2010).
We missed Virginia Rail for the first time since 2003, and missed Wilson’s Snipe for just the fourth time in 21 years. European Starling individuals (754) were the second-lowest on record for this count, greater than only 1998 (466 individuals).
Several species set new high counts for individuals. These species include: Hooded Merganser (83), Wild Turkey (162), Red-tailed Hawk (121), American Crow (1224), White-breasted Nuthatch (148), and Pygmy Nuthatch (266). Cassin’s Finch had its second-highest number of individuals (54), with only 1996 (174 individuals) exceeding this total. I would attribute at least a part of these high counts to the willingness of teams to thoroughly and carefully cover their areas.
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. CBCs are a great way to contribute to the effort to sustain our bird populations. I hope each of you takes time to consider how important birds are in your life, and think about other ways you can get involved to ensure their futures in our community and beyond.
I hope this year’s count has been a positive experience for all, and look forward to seeing everyone again for next year’s CBC.
Colorado Springs CBC Compiler