Date: 1/13/21 2:28 pm
From: Drew Whitelegg <drewwhitelegg1...>
Subject: [GABO-L] 2020 Birding report Clarkston, GA
Hi all,
Hope you are all well, and a happy new year.
As I previously mentioned, I spent last year birding almost exclusively in
Clarkston, a rather under-reported area on the east side of Atlanta, in
DeKalb Co. I also included the 30021 Zip Code. The study area was about
4-5 square miles.

The total number of species I ended up finding was 133, from 580 completed
checklists (there were numerous incomplete, while driving, walking the dog
etc). This was a much larger number of sightings than I had envisioned.

I am still writing things up, and still looking at various aspects of it
all (and I would LOVE feedback or suggestions regarding analysis). But I
thought I would send three tables of interest that I have put together
based upon the findings.

The first table below shows the number of different LOCATIONS I found
certain species (I have listed the most numerous). I wanted to get a
spread of the whole area, not just limit things to the small number of
hotspots there. I have broken this table into Permanent Residents and
Summer/Winter.Migrant. No great surprises here, though the Great Crested
Flycatcher seems very well represented.

Species (PR)

No of locations noted

Species (SR/WR/M)

No of locations noted

Mourning Dove


Chimney Swift


Northern Mockingbird


Great Crested Flycatcher


Northern Cardinal


Cedar Waxwing


European Starling


Northern Rough-winged Swallow


Carolina Wren


Golden-crowned Kinglet


Red-tailed Hawk


Ruby-crowned Kinglet


Red-bellied Woodpecker


Palm Warbler


Blue Jay


Yellow-rumped Warbler


American Robin


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker


Eastern Towhee


Red-eyed Vireo


Pine Siskin


The second table below shows the number of species seen at 11 locations
that became my own personal "hotspots" - only three of these are ebird
hotspots. These sites are spread across the whole study area and show, in
my opinion, a reasonably healthy collection.


Number of species


Number of Species

Friendship Forest (ebird hotspot)

113 (HS total at start 86; now 127)

Park North Boulevard Industrial Estate


Milam Park (ebird hotspot)

70 (HS total at start 48;now 75)

Woodland Avenue


Forty Oaks Nature Preserve (ebird hotspot)

75 (HS total at start 38; now 78)

Clarkston Library and Community Center


Stoneview Park


Clarkston High School


Milam Park Woods (substantially demolished for housing mid-year)


Jolly Elementary School and surrounding streets


Church Street Cycle Path


The final table below is an attempt to record relative abundance or lack of
abundance. I should say that some birds were completely absent - almost
all waterfowl and shorebirds most noticeably. To get a figure for relative
abundance, I took the middle point of the highest and lowest number for
each species in DeKalb County and then compared it with my own figures. I
then calculated the percentage "above" or "below" average (percentages can
lead to some quite unwieldy numbers). I also ONLY included species that
had been seen at more than one location and also on more than two
occasions. Here are the scores below (I will talk about them at the end of
the table)

Species with % above DeKalb abundance average

Species with % below DeKalb abundance average

Pine Siskin 10,093

Black Throated Green Warbler 322

Rock Pigeon -86

Black and White Warbler -28

Broad Winged Gull 1,066

Golden-crowned Kinglet 314

Hooded Warbler -69

Common Yellowthroat -25

Sharp-shinned Hawk 850

Green Heron 306

Wood Duck -67

Indigo Bunting -20

Brown Creeper 533

White-eyed Vireo 305

Mallard -61

Carolina Chickadee -19

Swainson’s Thrush 415

Louisiana Waterthrush 300

Rose-breasted Grosbeak -61

Northern Cardinal -12

Red-headed Woodpecker 385

Scarlet Tanager 271

Chestnut-sided Warbler -57

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher -11

Cedar Waxwing 373

Barred Owl 252

Cape May Warbler -47

Belted Kingfisher -10

American Robin 333

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 244

Magnolia Warbler -47

Great Blue Heron -6

Red-tailed Hawk 224

Dark-eyed Junco -46

EasterTowhee -6

Ruby-throated Hummingbird -40

Pileated Woodpecker -6

American Redstart -37

Carolina Wren -3

Tufted Titmouse -29

Of those appearing more abundant than the DeKalb average, the Pine Siskin
figure is obviously a reflection of the irruption we had this winter.
Broad-wingeds, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Green Herons, White-eyed Vireos all
bred in the area.

Of those appearing below average in terms of abundance, it is clear that
many of these were migratory. But also some of our most common species
seemed under-represented. Figures for Rock Pigeon may be unsafe because so
many are reported as incidentals/incomplete (and therefore are not included
in the ebird calculations for abundance). Also, it may be that I
under-counted some of the more common birds. Even so, within an overall
picture of reasonable health, there seems to be some causes for concern.

Please feel free to send your observations, critique etc etc. It could be
that some kind of policy suggestion could emerge from all this to send to
Clarkston Council (at a time when there is a lot of new development going

Thanks so much for reading. Thanks also to the other birders who came to
Clarkston and shared this journey of exploration.

Drew Whitelegg
DeKalb Co.

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