Christmas Bird Count Final Report 2019

The 45th Redbud Audubon Christmas Bird Count is in the books, and after reviewing and eliminating possible double counted birds, the total species remains at one hundred thirty-four (134) species reported on our 2019 Christmas Bird Count held Dec. 14.  This number is a little below our average (136) over the last 22 years.  Our high was 153 species in 2007, and our lowest count was 122 in 2003 and 2018.

The weather was cool with partly cloudy conditions and a light rain at the end of the day.  The low temperature reported was 36 and the high was 53.  We had 34 participants, five fewer than last year, and eight fewer than our average (from 2004 to 2018) of 44 participants.  Our effort (birding hours) was also down.  We had a total of 69 hours, which is 25.5 less than our average (from 2004 to 2018) of 94.5 hours.

Despite the reduction in birding hours, the total number of birds seen was 41,666, which is a bit higher than our average over the last 16 years of 39,636.  Our highest count is still 135,312 in 2003.

The rare birds seen this year were the Tri-colored Blackbird, Yellow-headed Blackbird and Great-tailed Grackle.  This is the first CBC sighting of the Yellow-headed Blackbird, the second CBC sighting of the Great-tailed Grackle, and the eighth CBC sighting of the Tricolored Blackbird.  Other high numbers included 71 Hooded Mergansers, 9 Greater White-fronted Geese, 3,355 American White Pelicans, 4,510 Double-crested Cormorants, 77 Brown-headed Cowbirds, 26 Townsend’s Warblers, and 3 White-throated Sparrows.

For the third year in a row, the Western/Clark’s Grebes win the prize of the highest number with 11,754, however this total is the lowest number counted for these species in the last six years.  Other higher than usual numbers include 78 Ring-necked Ducks (high of 61 last year), 1,966 Common Mergansers (1,217 last year); 8 Brown Creepers, and 507 Red-winged Blackbirds.

The overall picture shows lower counts for most species.  Species with lower than average numbers include the following thirty-six species: Gadwall, American Widgeon, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Greater and Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Wild Turkey, California Quail, Common Loon, White-tailed Kite, Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, California Gull, Herring Gull, Mourning Dove, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Stellar’s Jay, California Scrub-Jay, Oak Titmouse, Bewick’s Wren, American Pipit, Spotted Towhee, California Towhee, Song Sparrow, White and Golden-crowned Sparrows, Western Meadowlark, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, and House Sparrow.

We hope the lower numbers this year can be attributed to the lower number of participants and hours birded. Please let us know if you have any ideas for encouraging more birders to participate in our count. Our webpage for describing this event and looking for volunteers can be found here.

We truly appreciate all the participants and their support and efforts in making the bird count as accurate and complete as possible.  Please join us next year for the 121st Annual Christmas Bird Count, which will be held Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020.