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Christmas Bird Count

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When: Jan 04, 2014 from 07:00 am to 05:00 pm
Contact:
Wink Gross

What’s the oldest and grandest tradition in birding? Christmas Bird Counts, of course! All over the Americas, birders will be participating in one-day counts between Dec. 14, 2013 and Jan. 5, 2014. Portland Audubon counters will be heading out Saturday, Jan. 4.

Christmas Bird Count 2013 is complete! Check back in fall 2014 for information about this year's count, and read Wink Gross' wrap-up of the 2013 count:

Christmas Bird Count 2013 - Tinsley Hunsdorfer
Christmas Bird Counters plan their route through Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge - Tinsley Hunsdorfer

Portland Christmas Bird Count—bigger than ever!

“What is that? Ice crystals?—No! Snow Geese!”, we exclaimed as a flock of hundreds soared stratospherically high over Beaverton. Lit up by the winter sun against the clear blue sky, they were a stunning sight on the Portland Christmas Bird Count, held Saturday, Jan 4. Multiple teams in SW Portland, Beaverton, and Lake Oswego enjoyed them. Allowing for repeated counts of the same birds, we estimated there were at least 350 — way more than the previous record for the Portland CBC.

It was a beautiful day to be outside, and a record 262 field observers took advantage of it to participate in the Count. They and the 153 feeder watchers (also a record) combined to find 123 species, a little below average for the last 4 years. As usual, all five sectors of the count contributed unique species to the total. Highlights were Red-­breasted Merganser, Gray Jay, Mountain Chickadee, Barn Swallow, and Black-­headed Grosbeak. Karen Harris won the coveted “Eagle Eye Award” for best bird with an American Dipper in Tryon Creek State Park.

New for this year, our first “Family Friendly” count for kids 8 to 14 was led by David Mandell at Smith-­Bybee Wildlife Area. Nineteen enthusiastic participants enjoyed the ducks, geese, herons, and raptors. We will definitely do this again next year!

In addition to a record number of Snow Geese, all of the following set new highs for the count: Barrow's Goldeneye, Horned Grebe, Double-­crested Cormorant, Red-­tailed Hawk, Eurasian Collared-­Dove, Barn Owl, Anna's Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Steller's Jay, Western Scrub-­Jay, Common Raven, Black-­capped Chickadee, Bushtit, White-­breasted Nuthatch, Bewick's Wren, Townsend's Warbler, Song Sparrow, and Lincoln's Sparrow.

On the other hand, numbers of Killdeer, Mew Gull, Eurasian Starling (the lowest since they were first reported in 1960) were below average. Pine Siskins were way down. No Red Crossbills nor Evening Grosbeaks were recorded.

View a summary of the 88‐year history of the count, with details for the last 10 years.

With 415 participants, the Portland Christmas Bird Count is the largest in the United States. Fielding such a large team would not be possible without the hard work of the Area Leaders: Tony DeFalco, Dan Strong, Lynn Herring, Lori Hennings, and Steve Engel.  Thank you for a job well done!


Birders - Morgan Dean
Birders - Morgan Dean

About Christmas Bird Count

By Wink Gross, compiler, Portland Christmas Bird Count

Whether spending an entire day in the field or even just an hour watching your bird feeder, you can contribute significantly to our knowledge of birdlife in the Portland area by participating in the Christmas Bird Count — even if you’re a beginning birder. The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is the longest running “citizen science project” in North America, and the results have provided critical information on the status and changes in bird populations over the 114 years it has been conducted.

Begun in 1900 as an alternative to the traditional wanton slaughter of anything that flew during Christmas Day “side hunts,” hundreds of Christmas Bird Counts are now conducted throughout the Western Hemisphere, and they continue to contribute valuable scientific data to the longest existing record of bird population trends. Naturally, everyone likes the idea of contributing to science, but the real reason they’ve exploded in popularity? They’re so much fun!

The Audubon Society of Portland conducted its first Christmas Count in 1926. In 2012, a record 238 field observers and 152 feeder watchers found 130 species, also a record. Those 390 participants made the Portland CBC the largest in the U.S. and second only to Edmonton in the Americas.

More information: View Christmas Bird Count FAQs

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