Annual Christmas Bird Count takes place in spite of COVID


Courstey Steve Easley “A male Wood Duck, one of four Wood Ducks found next to Riverwalk Park”
CHELAN – Due to COVID, sponsor National Audubon Society gave each of the over 2,300 Christmas Bird Counts in North America the option of canceling their count.  Like most bird count locations, Chelan opted to carry through with their 32nd annual count on Saturday, Jan. 2.  
Social distancing rules prevented us from having more than one birder per car (unless traveling as a family or tight social unit), so each of the normal six sections in our 15-mile diameter count circle (centered north of the Manson Highway roundabout) had to be split into two or more sub-sections to accommodate 13 counting parties.  There were a total of 19 mobile participants and six backyard counters.
The weather was overcast but dry, with temperature in the 30’s.  There was no snow-cover at lower elevations but 2 to 3 inches up in the hills.  We found 83 bird species, the most since our 2012 count (94 species) and above the 32-year average of 77 species.  Total individual birds tallied were 8675, less than the 32-year average of 9,865 and far less than the maximum count of 15,348 in 2003.
Each year always yields a few highlights.  Most notable was a new species added to the count list, the Lesser Goldfinch (5) found by Virginia Palumbo in her yard on Nixon Ave.  And there were eight species with the maximum count on record: Trumpeter Swan (20), Redhead (456), Barrow’s Goldeneye (110), American Kestrel (32), Anna’s Hummingbird (5), Common Raven (77), Canyon Wren (6), and American Dipper (7).  Notable also were no waxwings, which makes two consecutive years that they were missing.
Anyone desiring full count results can email Steve Easley, seasley@nwi.net.  
Also, North American count results reaching back to 1900 are available on Audubon’s website, www.audubon.org.

 

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