Hello Colorado Springs CBCers,
Thank you to all participants for joining the Colorado Springs CBC effort this year despite very challenging birding conditions. It snowed through much of the day, and temperatures hovered between -2°F and 5°F until mid afternoon, when it reached 11°F. Driving conditions and visibility were both compromised by the conditions as well. Many birders opted to cover their designated CBC area either before or after count day to avoid these conditions, and I appreciate their dedication to still be a part of the count week. As the data show, count week efforts helped to fill out many of the species that we missed on count day.
On count day, 75 traveling birders and 19 feeder watchers found 74 species, totaling 9,587 individual birds. As expected due to the weather, both the species count and total individuals were well below the long-term averages. The species count average over the past 23 years is 92.5 with an average of 16,882 individuals. Count week efforts located 15 additional species that were not found on count day, including American Dipper, Greater Scaup, Ruddy Duck, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and Clark’s Nutcracker.
We did not find any new species for the count, but two Lewis’s Woodpeckers at Cheyenne Mountain State Park during count week were the first of this species on the count since 2007. Additionally, a count week Peregrine Falcon was only the second documentation of this species since 2001 on this CBC. The most notable species that we missed were Pied-billed Grebe, Scaled Quail, and Ferruginous Hawk.
Despite the conditions, two species still set new high counts for this CBC. 287 Snow Geese exceeded the previous high count of 101 from 2007, while three Merlins (and a fourth individual during count week) eclipsed the previous high of two, set in 1995 and 2012. Also, Bald Eagle tied its previous high count of four from 1998, 1999, 2002, 2008, and 2013. Not surprisingly, many species set or nearly set new low counts for individuals. This is almost certainly a result of the difficulty to detect birds on count day.
I encourage everyone to more closely examine the results of this year’s count as compared to previous years to gain a more thorough understanding of the results than I can discuss in this message. I have attached two spreadsheets: one of this year’s tally by count area, and one of the count-wide results dating back to 1994.
CBCs are a great way to contribute to the effort to sustain our bird populations. I hope each of you takes time to consider how important birds are in your life, and think about other ways you can get involved to ensure their futures in our community and beyond. As always, please share suggestions, impressions, or other thoughts about this year or how to improve future counts.
Colorado Springs CBC Compiler