2018 Delaware Reservoir Christmas Bird Count

Carolina Chickadee - Photo Earl Harrison


Every year for the past 30 years a group of dedicated naturalists have ventured out during the holiday season to conduct a “Christmas Bird Count” in and around Delaware, Ohio. The count is one of many (thousands) around the world and organized by the National Audubon Society. Each count is conducted in a specified 15 mile diameter circle. In our area the count was first organized by Sally Waterhouse and Jed Burtt (deceased).  I have been the compiler for the past 6 years.

This year the count was held on Sunday 16 December. There were 2 days of rain, some heavy, before the count day, and water was high with plenty of “standing water” none frozen. Weather on count day was cloudy with some breaks, cool (39-43oF), dank, some drizzle reported, little wind in the early morning increasing during the day, variable 1-10 mph. We had a total of 41 observers. Our count extended from 04:30 to 17:30 (5:30 pm).


We detected a very low diversity of waterfowl, which seemed odd for a year with open water and relatively mild temperatures. Relatively few sparrows were seen by most groups (especially American Tree Sparrows). Some groups reported reasonable numbers of American Tree Sparrows, but many groups reported few or even none of this normally common winter visitor which nests in the Arctic. The total (299) was the 7thlowest ever. We saw the greatest number of Blue Jays ever (510), the average for the previous 29 years is 188. We also set records for the most Tufted Titmouse (112) and White-breasted Nuthatch (134) compared to the averages of 56 and 75 respectively. We also had the 2nd highest number of Golden-crowned Kinglets with 81; the average is 20. Megan Shoemaker’s group found a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, which has only been seen on seven previous counts here.

We detected a paucity of blackbirds, considering that it wasn’t all that cold. Our total of 87 Carolina Wrens was the second largest ever (we had 88 back in 2006).  The average number is 29. Two species (Sandhill Crane, and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker) were detected during the “count week” but not on the count day.

Our final total was 65 species, a bit above average (60), with 9,474 individuals which was well below the average of 12,553 individuals. I thank everyone for their effort in conducting this annual census, I hope you enjoyed the day.

Species Seen

Double-crested Cormorant8
Great Blue Heron31
Trumpeter Swan2
Canada Goose499
Wood Duck5
Ring-necked Duck7
merganser species?8
duck species?19
Turkey Vulture1
Northern Harrier6
Cooper’s Hawk7
Bald Eagle12
Red-shouldered Hawk4
Red-tailed Hawk39
Buteo species.2
American Kestrel16
Wild Turkey12
Ring-necked Pheasant1
Bonaparte’s Gull69
Ring-billed Gull878
Herring Gull5
gull species51
Rock Pigeon183
Mourning Dove1007
Sandhill Cranecw
Eastern Screech Owl3
Great Horned Owl1
Barred Owl4
Belted Kingfisher12
Red-headed Woodpecker7
Red-bellied Woodpecker108
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckercw
Downy Woodpecker148
Hairy Woodpecker19
Northern Flicker74
Pileated Woodpecker8
woodpecker species1
Horned Lark89
Blue Jay510
American Crow142
chickadee Woodpecker88
Carolina Chickadee111
Tufted Titmouse112
Red-breasted Nuthatch9
White-breasted Nuthatch134
Brown Creeper17
Carolina Wren87
Winter Wren2
Golden-crowned Kinglet81
Ruby-crowned Kinglet1
Eastern Bluebird126
American Robin345
Hermit Thrush2
Northern Mockingbird15
Eurasian Starling1895
Yellow-rumped Warbler2
Eastern Towhee1
American Tree Sparrow299
Song Sparrow107
Swamp Sparrow18
White-throated Sparrow67
White-crowned Sparrow24
sparrow species30
Dark-eyed Junco206
Northern Cardinal457
Eastern Meadowlark1
Common Grackle3
Brown-headed Cowbird39
House Finch328
American Goldfinch106
House Sparrow647
Total # species66


Total Individuals9474
Total Party Hours90.7
Total Party Miles458.2
hours driving38.25
hours walking52.25
miles driving411.1
miles walking47.05
Owling Hours7.8
Owling miles35.2
max # of parties10
min # of parties10


Jim Peoples
Kirsten Lehtoma
Steve Weate
Bernard Derr
Troy Herrel
Kyle Davis
Adriana Losey
Maria Losey
Craig Flockerzie
Logan Dunn
Dan Fink
Colleen Fink
Bryan Sharp
Megan Shoemaker
Chris Harvey
Geoff Winningham
Amy Winningham
Dan Lux
Ed Lux
Tania Perry
Richard Bradley
Amy Tovar
Gary Deighton
Karen Deighton
Silas Jolliff
Todd Jolliff
Daniel Bobb
David Johnson
Bob Klips
Laura Kearns
Ben Warner
Lauren Blyth
Angela Sjollema
Keith Lott
Ramon Carreno
John Austin
Cam Lee
Liz Neroni
Kelli Venable
Chris Roshon
Lauren Richards
Feeder Counters:
Dick Tuttle
Bob Harter
Becky Bobb
Robert Tannehill
Christina Voise