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.

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