Date: 1/5/21 5:16 pm From: Paul Anderson <fishoak...> Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Results from the 2021 Christmas Bird Count Ithaca Circle
The Christmas Bird Count and the count week is now over. We had the meeting last night to unveil the numbers, which many of you probably attended. I suspect there will be a few minor changes before we're completely done and ready to upload to Audubon, but I don't think any of the major conclusions will be upended.
- *181 people* participated, breaking the previous record of 165 from 2017 - Participants walked *315 miles* in *305 hours*, and spent another *94 hours* birding from the car, and *24 hours* owling - We had *89 species* on the day, and *10 count week species*, one of which is new for the count - *15 species* had record highs, and two tied the previous record high. We've never broken so many records before! - No record lows or big misses, although a few species were much lower than we have been used to in recent years
We had a great year for woodpeckers and other feeder birds, as well as a few others. The record high counts were for these species:
- Tundra Swan - Gadwall - Ring-necked Duck - Red-breasted Merganser - Ring-necked Pheasant - Black Vulture - Gyrfalcon - this was new for the count - Peregrine Falcon - we only just today confirmed this sighting on 12/31. - Northern Shrike - Snow Bunting
The total number of birds counted was 30,293, about 16% down from the 10-year average.
At the meeting there was lots of speculation about causes for these numbers. It seems fair to conclude that the record effort yielded record numbers of birds, a theory that is supported by the fact that we had a similar amount of effort in 2011 when we also set many records for many of the same birds. The low total is likely mostly due to our part of the lake being more empty of birds than we have been used to. Those waterfowl were just elsewhere on the day.
Finally, although we all agreed that we were sad not to have the in-person dinner at the Lab, all the area leaders were greatly appreciative of the extra time to collate numbers. Consequently, we are discussing breaking with tradition and doing the dinner on the day after the count instead.
Thanks to everyone who participated and helped out. This was fun!