Christmas Bird Count Wrap-up

Augusta CBC's prize finding was a dunlin like this one taken by Tony Sutton and posted to Flickr

Augusta CBC’s prize finding was a Dunlin like this one taken by Tony Sutton, posted to Flickr. Click on the image for more about Dunlins from Cornell.

The 114th Audubon Christmas Bird Count took place from December 14th, 2013 – January 5th, 2014 with approximately 2300 circles and close to 70,000 participants.  The local Augusta CBC was begun in 1966 with seven participants and has run consecutively for 47 years.  Our circle’s center is in Verona with a 7.5 mile radius.  This year, on December 15th, 2013, we had eight teams consisting of 26 members and friends logging in a total of 497.5 miles and over 55 hours in the field.  With a total of 81 species counted for the day, this number breaks the previous two high records of 80 species in 2005 and 2009.  The cumulative number of species for the Augusta CBC is 134 with 66 being the average.

Some highlights for record numbers from the 47th CBC were 82 Gadwalls, 6 Wood Duck, 6 Hooded Mergansers, 3 Bald Eagles, 8 Red-shouldered Hawks, 68 Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and the biggest find of the day was one Dunlin.  Allen Larner had spotted the Dunlin earlier in the week and it was still located on the same pond on Bell’s Lane for the CBC.  There is only one other Dunlin noted for a CBC in 1979 and only the third winter record.  A Peregrine was also found clocking in as the fourth CBC record and one Catbird, the seventh CBC record.  Also of note are the infrequent CBC records for owls in general.  This year we had 3 Short-eared Owls, 1 Great Horned, 1 Screech Owl and 2 Barn Owls with a high of 4 Barn Owls being recorded in 1971 and none at all from 1992 – 2006.  Please keep in mind these are only CBC records, not winter records for Augusta County.

YuLee Larner, one of the founders of the Augusta Bird Club, one of the original participants for the Augusta CBC and the compiler of our records from 1966 onward, gave me her hand written, hand typed records for the CBC before she passed away in 2013.  It is such a pleasure to pour through the sheets and to reflect on this living document and also to reflect not only on her efforts but on the other individuals as well over the course of time who have made significant contributions in our birding community and beyond.  It is a joy and an honor to continue the local CBC tradition!

Penny Warren
President, Augusta Bird Club