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1/10/2013 Birders tally 45 species

Following a lengthy tradition in the Wet Mountain Valley, the annual Christmas Bird Count was held on Saturday, Dec. 29.  Sixteen hearty bird watchers braved minus 16 degree temperatures to scout the 7.5 mile radius count circle whose center is in the town of Westcliffe.

 This was the National Audubon Society’s 113th Christmas Bird Count across the Americas, which is conducted over a three-week period each year. Five teams did an excellent job of searching each and every back road, household bird feeder and every habitat that might have some bird hunkered down, or, in the case of the bigger birds, soaring in the sky or perching in a lone tree.

 The adult bald eagle perched across from St. Andrew’s Golf Course was seen by a number of participants. Nearby, the barn that has historically housed a family of Great Horned Owls was again checked, and after several years absence, the Owls are back!

The final total of bird species counted for the day is 45, with a tally of 1,645 individual birds.

 The 22-year average for this count is 42 species, and the counts have ranged from a record high of 54 to a low of 31 (in a blizzard!).  The group was pleased to record two birds new to the Westcliffe CBC, and unusual to be in the Valley this time of year.  A lone American Coot was spotted in Grape Creek near the bridge on north Highway 69, and two Band-tailed Pigeons were seen in a yard on Oak Creek Grade Road not too far from Silver Cliff.

Those taking part in this year’s count were Leon and Treva Bright of Pueblo and Westcliffe; Jim and Irene Thompson of La Junta; Dave Silverman of Rye; Margie Joy of Pueblo West; Steve and Margaret Lindner of Westcliffe; R. Lindsay Lilly of  Pueblo; Brandon Percival of  Pueblo; Mark Peterson of Colorado Springs; Jane Pedersen and Steve Somora of Durango and Hillside; Lynn and Mark Prebble of  Westcliffe; and Phil Ensley of  Westcliffe.

Birds recorded on 12-29-12:

Mallard – 13

Green-winged Teal – 1

Great Blue Heron – 1

Bald Eagle – 3

Northern Harrier – 1

Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1

Red-tailed Hawk – 6

Rough-legged Hawk – 8

Golden Eagle – 2

American Kestrel – 1

American Coot – 1

Band-tailed Pigeon - 2

Eurasian Collared-Dove – 44

Great Horned Owl – 2

Belted Kingfisher – 2

Downy Woodpecker – 2

Hairy Woodpecker – 2

Northern Flicker – 1

Northern Shrike – 1

Steller’s Jay – 30

Western Scrub-Jay – 11

Pinyon Jay – 20

Clark’s Nutcracker – 11

Black-billed Magpie – 80

American Crow – 81

Common Raven – 58

Horned Lark – 377

Black-capped Chickadee – 6

Mountain Chickadee – 42

White-breasted Nuthatch – 3

Pygmy Nuthatch – 30

Brown Creeper – 1

American Dipper – 3

Townsend’s Solitaire – 1

European Starling – 103

American Tree Sparrow – 42

Song Sparrow – 2

Dark-eyed Junco – 71

Dark-eyed (Gray-headed) Junco – 20

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco – 11

Dark-eyed (Pink-sided) Junco – 1

Dark-eyed (Slate-colored) Junco – 3

Dark-eyed (White-winged) Junco – 3

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch – 35

Black Rosy-Finch -  25

Brown-capped Rosy-Finch – 348

Rosy-Finch sp. – 10

Cassin’s Finch - 1

House Finch – 1

Pine Siskin – 8

House Sparrow – 100

___________________________

Total Species – 45

Total Individuals – 1645

 

 
 
 
 
 
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