Christmas Bird Count 2010: Hoover Reservoir

Wilson's Snipe - Photo Alan Schmierer

December 18, 2010, marked the 55th Anniversary of the Hoover Reservoir Christmas Bird Count.

Over the last decade the circle’s teams and their area of coverage stabilized and the effort to increase participation by feeder watchers has resulted in dramatic change. In the 1990’s the circle averaged about 62 species and 15 participants per count. The past decade saw these increase to averaging about 72 species and 30 participants per year.

The increased turnout is enabling us to give coverage to areas often left out in earlier years. Better participation and wider coverage are reflected by the numbers, 77 species in 2009 and 83 species in 2010. When I first became involved with the Hoover Reservoir circle in the early 1980’s the turnout was meagre, often single digits, and the coverage restricted to the west shore of the reservoir. Almost everyone wanted to hang close to the then compiler, an excellent birder and teacher. This omitted huge parts of the circle and the numbers were almost predictable before starting.

Tom Thomson was the compiler for the Hoover Reservoir count from its first count in 1956, with the exception of two years, until he said it was time for him to slow down and he asked me to take over the responsibilities. When I secured the detail for the past years from Tom I appreciated how much he had done with so little help. Tom laid the foundation and I have tried to maintain both good coverage of the circle and the sharing of experience with those just becoming involved. As a compiler for a Christmas Count circle I wish to express my appreciation to all the people who join in to help make a count successful. Without them I and the other dedicated compliers would not be able to conduct our Christmas Bird Counts.

Highlights

We set 14 new record highs for individual species:

• Trumpeter Swan (1 – New Species # 135 for circle)
• Canada Goose (8,584)
• Green-winged Teal (1 3)
• Northern Shoveler (48)
• Merlin (2)
• Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (5)
• Downy Woodpecker (136)
• Pileated Woodpecker (9)
• Blue Jay (337)
• Horned Lark (256)
• White-breasted Nuthatch (123)
• American Robin (1,806)
• Pine Warbler (1 – New Species #136 for circle)
• Purple Finch (61)
and tied the high for 1 species:
• Bald eagle (15)

Unusual species:

• Wilson’s Snipe (1)

Additional Notes

Our final count was 83 species.  Absent from the count for the thirteenth time in the last 17 years were Black-capped Chickadees. With the bitter cold weather I expected to find some this year, nada. Pine Siskins had been regularly seen in Central Ohio except for Count Week.

Statistics

Count Date and time: December 18, 2010 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Weather: Temp. 9 F to 28 F. Wind SW, 4-6 mph. Snow depth 2 inches. Still water frozen. Moving water open. Partly Cloudy in AM, Partly Sunny in PM.
Count center: 40′ 12 N, 82′ 5 W, as described 1975, center I-71, 7.5 mi. n. Rt. 161.
Observers: 45 in the field (including 27 attending Metro Park programs at Highbanks, Inniswood and Sharon Woods) in 11-14 parties (non-owling) and 5 Feeder Watch. Total party-hours 60; total party-miles 300.5; 40.5 hours and 37.75 miles on foot; 22.5 hours and 262.75 miles by car.

Species List

Horned Grebe 1
Great Blue Heron 12
Trumpeter Swan 1
Mute Swan 3
Canada Goose 8,584
Snow Goose 1
Gadwall 5
American Black Duck 178
Mallard 1,885
Northern Shoveler 48
Redhead 1
Green-winged Teal 13
American Wigeon 48
Lesser Scaup 14
Common Goldeneye 15
Bufflehead 1
Hooded Merganser 144
Common Merganser 1
Ruddy Duck 15
Bald Eagle 15
Northern Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Cooper’s Hawk 5
Red-tailed Hawk 34
American Kestrel 11
Rough-legged Hawk 2
Merlin 2
Wild Turkey 11
Wilson’s Snipe 1
Ring-billed Gull 166
Herring Gull 4
Rock Pigeon 327
Mourning Dove 245
American Coot 10
Eastern Screech Owl 1
Great Horned Owl 4
Barred Owl 2
Belted Kingfisher 5
Red-headed Woodpecker 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 87
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 5
Downy Woodpecker 136
Hairy Woodpecker 13
Northern Flicker 30
Pileated Woodpecker 9
Blue Jay 337
American Crow 263
Horned Lark 256
Carolina Chickadee 330
Tufted Titmouse 179
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 123
Brown Creeper 9
Carolina Wren 26
Winter Wren 1
Golden-crowned Kinglets 21
Eastern Bluebird 54
Hermit Thrush 1
American Robin 1,806
Northern Mockingbird 5
European Starling 3,192
Cedar Waxwing 238
Yellow-rumped Warbler 17
Pine Warbler 1
Eastern Towhee 6
American Tree Sparrow 76
Chipping Sparrow 1
Fox Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 80
Swamp Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 154
White-crowned Sparrow 20
Dark-eyed Junco 329
Lapland Longspur 3
Snow Bunting 2
Northern Cardinal 336
Red-winged Blackbird 1
Common Grackle 125
Brown-headed Cowbird 6
Purple Finch 61
House Finch 96
American Goldfinch 204
House Sparrow 301

Additional Count Week Birds

Red-necked Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant.

Slowpoke Award

The Long-tailed Duck that arrived 3 days after the Count Week period.

Totals

83 Species; 20,739 Individuals.
Compiler: Charles Bombaci, 6715 Henschen Circle, Westerville, Ohio 43082