By the end of a pleasant day on Friday, Jan. 3, 54 volunteers had signed up for the annual Christmas Bird Count at Barr Lake State Park in Colorado. That number would have broken a participation record had all shown up. As count day arrived two days later, however, below freezing temperatures, fog and driving snow had reduced the number of hardy volunteers to 38, two shy of last year’s record 40 participants.
Those who braved the weather were treated to a goodly number of Rough-legged Hawks. At a total of 50, the count was just shy of the previous record of 53.
Among the unusual sightings were a Greater White-fronted Goose, seen on only three previous counts; a Western Scrub-jay, seen on only one previous count; and a Harris’s Sparrow, seen on only 12 previous counts. At 12,004 individuals, the count of Red-winged Blackbirds topped the previous high of 9,423 during the 84th Christmas Bird Count. This year was the 114th.
In all, 43,600 birds belonging to 68 species were recorded, eight fewer species than last year.
The count is sponsored annually by the National Audubon Society. RMBO is the local sponsor for the Barr Lake count and hosts the pre-count and post-count compilation meetings. RMBO staff and board were well represented among the count volunteers.
Thank you to all who turned out to make this a successful count!
~ Chuck Hundertmark, Compiler, Barr Lake Christmas Bird Count