Date: 1/10/19 2:54 pm
From: Jed Hertz <jhh_60910...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...>
Subject: IBET ILKV CBC Roundup

Hi all,

The 23rd Kankakee Valley Christmas Bird Count –part of the 119th National Audubon’s Society’s Christmas Count - was held onSaturday Dec 29th 2018.  Theweather was mild with overcast skies, temps between 27-28 degrees, winds 5-15out of the west, no snow cover, open flowing water with some frozen stillwater.  Pretty ideal conditions you’dthink for this all-day outdoor activity, but keep in mind, our best ChristmasCount, 82 species on 12-30-2017, was our worst ever weather day: 1-10 degreetemps, west winds at 35 mph, and 5” snow cover created the perfect conditionsfor a winter fall-out the likes of which may never be seen again.

This year’s Kankakee Christmas Count found 72 species, oneabove our 18 yr average of 71.06, 10 below our high count of 82 species(12-30-2017), and 7 above our lowest count of 65 on three occasions.  We had 20 counters in the field (vs anaverage of 18.39), 4 feeder counters (vs average of 6.89), walked 34.45 miles(vs average of 30.68), and drove 479.4 miles (vs average of 337.73 miles).  In all we traveled 513.85 miles (vs averageof 368.40 miles), were in the field 80.78 hours (vs average of 63.91 hours),and tallied a total of 6113 birds (vs average of 13412.61).  

Though this year’s count was average species wise - 72, itwas extraordinary for the rarity of two species found by our two youngest participants.  These two species were rare enough that theywere not listed on the IL Christmas Bird Count tally sheet and probably neverbefore sighted on an IL Christmas Count. Not only that, these species sightings may be the latest ever inIllinios.  Of course this will all bedetermined by the Illinois Ornithological Records Committee (IORC), but havingone member of the IORC on our own Christmas count view the photographs we canbe sure they were at least properly identified to species.  Here then are the listing of our 2018 Speciesof Note:  


SHORT-EARED OWL:  2ndyear for this species; previously found in 2013.

GRAY CATBIRD: 2ND year for this species;previously found in 2015.

WHITE-EYED VIREO (see photo): 1st ever found andprobably the latest ever recorded in the state of Illinois.

NASHVILLE WARBLER (see photo): 1st ever found andprobably the latest ever recorded in the state of Illinois.

Here then our:


Bald Eagle (7) vs 18 yr average of 3.33

Eastern Screech-Owl (14) vs 9

Black-capped Chickadee (70) vs 54.11

Red-breasted Nuthatch (11) vs 5.65

White-breasted Nuthatch (81) vs 53.44

Eastern Bluebird (24) vs 5.56

Cedar Waxwing (100) vs 37.28

Yellow-rumped Warbler (20) vs 3.5



Cananda Goose (1608) vs 18 yr average of 3364.33

Mallard (197) vs 669.78

Common Goldeneye (37) vs 77.17

American Kestrel (8) vs 15.33 Grain Bin Poison?

Rock Pigeon (290) vs 533.94 Grain Bin Poison?

Mourning Dove (247) vs 399.94 Grain Bin Poison?

Blue Jay (81) vs 127.61 West Nile Virus?

American Crow (69) vs 337.67 West Nile Virus?

Tufted Timouse (11) vs 23.11

European Starling (1353) vs 3944.94 Grain Bin Poison?

American Tree Sparrow (170) vs 313.61 Grain Bin Poison?

Song Sparrow (14) vs 30.22

Lapland Longspur (54) vs 113.11 Grain Bin Poison?

Red-winged Blackbird (35) vs 85.50

Brown-headed Cowbird (3) vs 241.44

House Finch (71) vs 185.44

American Goldfinch (39) vs 109.50

House Sparrow (395) vs 1018.39 Grain Bin Poison?


Overall one of the starkest differences from past years wasthe total birds count number: 6113 vs our 18 year average of  13,412.61. This was the lowest tally in the last 18 years – our most relatablehistory.  Hard to know what caused thisnegative aberration, but future Christmas Bird Count surveys may shed somelight on this telling statistic.


As usual we had a few misses that should be noted in hopesof improving our future counts. They include: Northern Bobwhite, Horned Lark,Fox Sparrow, Snow Bunting, Eastern Meadowlark, Common Grackle, and Pine Siskin.

Given the magnitude of finding two of the rarest ChristmasCount species ever: Nashville Warbler and White-eyed Vireo we are elated withthis year’s Kankakee Valley Christmas Bird Count and look forward to theultimate findings of the IORC (IL records committee).  The “ebird” data points to new records forboth these birds, but we have yet to see the Illinios Ornithological Society(IOS) historical records.  The findingswill soon be determined.

I wish to thank our many longtime partners, and alsocongratulate our youngest participants for their commendable effort in thisworthy endeavor.  Frank Chapman would beproud to see the 1900 National Audubon Society Christmas Count become aworldwide effort in the last 119 years.

Best regards,

Jed Hertz

ILKV CBC Compiler

Jed Hertz 
Kankakee Co, IL (60 mi South of Chicago) 
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