Date: 12/21/18 8:31 am From: COBirds <redbear44...> Subject: [cobirds] Fort Collins CBC
The Fort Collins CBC was conducted on December 15, 2018, a pleasant day (a little late for the post). This was the 72nd consecutive count in Fort Collins, the longest consecutively run count in Colorado. We were ready for record crowds, but many people cancelled at the last minute, I'm sure to the nice weather and maladies being passed around. We still had 88 field participants (a new high over the previous 82) and 6 additional feeder watchers only. We had a lot of seasoned birders and beginners out for an enjoyable time. Several birders got to see new lifers, which is always a thrill for me to get to watch. My favorites are the owls and rails that people got to see. The count had a new species high of 103 over the previous 100 along with 4 count week birds - what a treat!
The day was particularly good for many species that typically have already migrated away from northern Colorado at this time of year. Rarities for the Fort Collins CBC included a new species for the count, a female Northern Cardinal, and California, Iceland (Thayer's), and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Barn, Northern Pygmy-, and Long-eared Owls, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, an American Three-toed Woodpecker, 2 Peregrine Falcons (these were recorded about 6 miles apart - possibly same one), a Winter Wren, a Gray Catbird, 2 Brown Thrashers, 4 Lesser Goldfinches, a Green-tailed Towhee, 2 Harris's and 5 Swamp Sparrows, and Yellow-rumped Warblers - both forms). High Counts were recorded for 15 species, but many of these as a result of having a few more people in the field and ability to cover some areas better, especially with a crew of young hikers (not including the rarities Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Black-capped Chickadees, Red- and White-breasted Nuthatches, and Townsend's Solitaires), and the fairer weather leaving a few birds not migrating (Pied-billed Grebe, Marsh Wren, and Swamp Sparrows). With that said, the populations of Bushtits and Wild Turkeys in Fort Collins area are increasing as reflected in the count - much higher. Finally, noticeable drops included American Coot (many may not be here yet) and Rock Pigeons (somewhat of a decline over last several years reflecting the Breeding Bird Survey trends); Lewis's Woodpeckers and Ring-necked Pheasants have declined to zero or few, respectively, from robust populations over the last fifty years, primarily a reflection of the loss of habitat.
I would like to thank the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies for their accommodations for the compilation dinner, a wonderful group of professionals. I would also like to thank Fort Collins Audubon Society for their continued support in the Fort Collins area. Both help sponsor the event and recruit many observers for the event.