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The Christmas Bird Count - get involved!

You Can Make a Difference: Participate in the 114th Christmas Bird Count

 

Did you know that the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is the longest standing Citizen Science project?

 

Scientists rely on the remarkable trend data of Audubon’s CBC data to measure changes in the environment and in bird populations throughout North America. This information paints a clear picture of bird distribution and abundance and aids in the understanding of how populations are changing over time.

 

While scientists rely on the data, the success of the CBC relies on people like you!  The 114th CBC is concluded, but the results of the counts in our region are listed below...

 

 

114th Pittsburgh Christmas Bird Count Report - December 28th, 2013

151 participants joined forced to tally birds in the Pittsburgh Christmas Bird Count on December 28th 2013.  The weather was a bit milder than normal, with a low temperature of 35 degrees and a high temperature of nearly 50 degrees.  Despite mild temperatures, areas lakes and ponds were mostly frozen, though streams and rivers remained open.

Participants traveled 181 miles by foot and over 250 miles by car during the count.  With a cumulative total of nearly 300 party hours, the count circle was well surveyed for birds.  Unlike last year, which was an all-time high species diversity count with eruptive winter finches and a number of lingering breeding birds, this year would prove to be more typical of the region.  66 species of birds were found, with a grand total of 46,577 birds tallied.

Unquestionably, the most common bird found during the count was American Crow.  The roost in Pittsburgh yielded tens of thousands of crows, and when combined with numbers outside the city, a whopping 32,913 individuals were counted. 

Other notable statistics include  high counts of Bufflehead (11 individuals), Bald Eagle (4 individuals), Fish Crow (20 individuals), Brown Creeper (32 individuals), Winter Wren (12 individuals) and Carolina Wren (314 individuals).  Each of these numbers are higher than they have been for the past 25 years!  The first ever Black Vulture was found in Franklin Park - this species is increasing in southwestern Pennsylvania, though this was the first record during the Pittsburgh CBC.

Participants struggled to find White-throated Sparrows, a winter visitor from the north.  Only 154 were found, well below our average count.  Likewise, our waterfowl numbers were down from the average; however this can be easily correlated to frozen lakes and ponds throughout the count circle.  Only one American Kestrel was found.  Although available habitat for this species is limited within the area, a low count is always disappointing for such a charismatic species. 

In the end, most of the 66 species found during the count were on par with the average, a welcomed sign for anyone concerned about overall bird populations.  We’d like to express our sincere appreciation to all of those involved in the Pittsburgh Christmas Bird Count, and especially to the area leaders that help compile the data.        

 

Canada Goose 1159

American Black Duck 4

Mallard 720

Bufflehead 11

Hooded Merganser 9

Common Merganser 3

Red-breasted Merganser 2

Wild Turkey 110

Pied-billed Grebe 4

Double-crested Cormorant 26

Great Blue Heron 32

Black Vulture 1

Turkey Vulture 15

Bald Eagle 4

Sharp-shinned Hawk 10

Cooper's Hawk 28

Red-shouldered Hawk 5

Red-tailed Hawk 99

American Kestrel 1

Merlin 2

Peregrine Falcon 2

American Coot 14

Ring-billed Gull 372

Herring Gull 129

gull sp. 12

Rock Pigeon 876

Mourning Dove 659

Eastern Screech-Owl 22

Great Horned Owl 10

Barred Owl  4

Belted Kingfisher 11

Red-bellied Woodpecker 198

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 4

Downy Woodpecker 233

Hairy Woodpecker 67

Northern Flicker 23

Pileated Woodpecker 21

Blue Jay 302

American Crow 32913

Fish Crow 20

Common Raven 3

Carolina Chickadee 176

Black-capped Chickadee 117

chickadee sp. 361

Tufted Titmouse 443

Red-breasted Nuthatch 3

White-breasted Nuthatch 219

Brown Creeper 32

Carolina Wren 314

Winter Wren 12

Golden-crowned Kinglet 90

Eastern Bluebird 120

American Robin 686

Northern Mockingbird 75

European Starling 2391

Cedar Waxwing 30

Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler 14

Eastern Towhee 4

American Tree Sparrow 31

Song Sparrow 459

Swamp Sparrow 3

White-throated Sparrow 154

White-crowned Sparrow 1

Dark-eyed (Slate-colored) Junco 576

Northern Cardinal 629

House Finch 335

American Goldfinch 476

House Sparrow 685