First, thank you to all of the area leaders and participants that joined this year’s Colorado Springs Christmas Bird Count. This year, 178 people participated as field observers or feeder watchers in 30 areas within our count circle. We devoted an amazing 122 miles on foot, 433 miles by car, and a total of 220 party hours toward this year’s count. Our combined efforts found 99 species on count day and three additional species during count week, for a total of 102 species. The average species count over the past 22 years is 92.9. This year, we counted a total of 20,777 individual birds, one of the highest counts in twenty-two years, over which the average total individuals is 17,215.
For those interested, I have attached the annual count records, dating back to 1994. Our Colorado Springs Christmas Bird Count dates back to at least 1950, possibly earlier, and eventually I hope to have all of those records in digital format to more easily compare each new count with the entire history of this CBC.
Most notable in this year’s count are the number of record highs we set. I am certain that we can attribute this largely to the effort that area leaders and participants put in to cover our count circle thoroughly and carefully.
The following species all set record highs for number of individuals counted: Green-winged Teal (106 individuals), Ring-necked Duck (174), Long-tailed Duck (4), Hooded Merganser (123), Cooper’s Hawk (12), Barn Owl (3), and Downy Woodpecker (77). In addition, Pied-billed Grebe (12 individuals), Great Blue Heron (11), American Kestrel (35), Acorn Woodpecker (1), and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (1) all tied previous record highs.
Yellow-headed Blackbird and Say’s Phoebe were found for the first time on our count, making a total of 179 different species seen on the Colorado Springs CBC since 1994. Also, a flock of 20 Sandhill Cranes flying over during count week was the first on record for our count.
Barn Owl was found for only the second time (also in 2014), while Acorn Woodpecker (2012, 2014) and Hermit Thrush (2009,2010) were found for only the third time.
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 am working each year to improve this count. If you have any suggestions for changes or improvements, please share them with me. I look forward to seeing everyone again for next year’s CBC.
Colorado Springs CBC Compiler
Click here for a complete species count by region.