2020 Christmas Bird Count Preliminary Results

By Kathy Barnwell, CBC Coordinator

Congratulations to our 38 intrepid birders for participating in Redbud Audubon’s 46th Christmas Bird Count held December 19, 2020. The weather was beautiful this year, with a high of 61, no wind to speak of, and mostly sunny. With Covid-19 restrictions, including a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., separate cars for all non-household participants, social distancing and masking requirements, the 15 groups were able to identify one hundred twenty-seven (127) bird species.

Since 1997, the highest count was 153 species in 2007, and the lowest was 122 in both 2003 and 2018. This year is the 4th lowest species count since 1997. Despite the lower species count, the participants counted a total of 61,995 birds. Although this tally is below the 68,266 birds seen in 2017, it is the third highest number since our biggest year in 2004, when our count was 135,312.

A few of the birds we missed this year are: Canvasback, Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Lewis’ Woodpecker, Spotted Sandpiper, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch (missing for the third year in a row), and Golden-crowned Kinglet.

The following birds were seen by only one of the 15 groups:

Greater White-fronted Goose (2) Cackling Goose (9)
Ring-necked Duck (149)
Red-breasted Merganser (1)
Ring-necked Pheasant (2)
Red-necked Grebe (1)
American Bittern (1)
White-tailed Kite (1)
Cooper’s Hawk (1)
Ferruginous Hawk (2)
Virginia Rail (1)
Thayers Gull (3)
Western x Glaucous-winged Gull (3)
Rock Pigeon (10)
Band-tailed Pigeon (4)
Barn Owl (1)
Northern Saw-whet Owl (1)
Red-breasted Sapsucker (2)
Merlin (1)
*Loggerhead Shrike (1)
Pygmy Nuthatch (5)
Brown Creeper (1)
Lark Sparrow (8)
Bell’s Sparrow (1)
Rufous-crowned Sparrow (1)

*The Loggerhead Shrike is a new bird for our count this year.
Congratulations to the participants who found all these birds! Without our dedicated birders, many of these birds would not be included in our count.

Using preliminary bird numbers, the top species were:

1. Western/Clark’s Grebes at 33,294 2. Ruddy Duck at 11,950
3. California Gull at 2,512
4. Double-crested Cormorant at 1,452

We truly appreciate and thank all the participants for their support and efforts in making the bird count as accurate and complete as possible. We hope that all participants had a good time and will join us next December for National Audubon’s 122nd Annual Christmas Bird Count. Happy Birding!