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  • Mark Burns

Audubon 2021 Annual Christmas Bird Count


The annual Audubon CBC was largely a very typical event. The weather was rather mild, snowless and overcast all day. Sixty-seven counters took to the field.


Waterfowl numbers were modest, which was to be expected with mild conditions. Canada geese and mallards were predominant, with a nice showing of hooded mergansers (55). Raptors were present in an expected fashion, without extensive snow to push them southward. Redtails (64) and red-shoulders (53) were predominant, in addition to kestrels (38). With an intrepid canoe team on the Shenandoah, this year’s bald eagle (37) and kingfishers (41) counts were significant. Only three harriers were found and one golden eagle was seen during count week.


Woodpeckers were widely present. Both pileated (77) and sapsuckers (98) were high counts. And red-headed (21) showed up in above average number. Turkeys (241) were very prevalent and one lone bobwhite was tallied. A sad sort of surprise, considering their once extensive presence. Other passerines were widely present, with only a few surprises. Carolina chickadees (295) and tufted titmouse (209) counts were similar to 2020. Wrens, creepers and both kinglets were found in usual fashion. Bluebirds (599) are a forever happy presence, nearly double last year’s count. Hermit thrush (51) and a few catbirds (3) were seen. In super abundance were yellow-rumped warblers (541) and fleck of robins (6540). Starling (7138) numbers showed a pronounced decrease, but were still the counts most abundant species.


Finches were widely present, though few in surprising number. Cardinals, towhee, chipping, fi fox, tree, savannah, song, white-crowned and swamp sparrows were all present.

White-throated sparrows (814) and juncos (493) were found in rather low numbers, again not surprising considering mild weather conditions. The irruptive northern finches were minimally present with purple finches (101) and pine siskins (17) being the only members found.

Thanks to all who spent the day (& /or night) in the field. The full details of the count can be found on the NSVAS website. And again, a special good-bye thanks to Larry Frey for all his years of compilation. He will be missed.

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