Christmas Bird Count 2018

2018 Columbus CBC Weathers Strange Winter Conditions.

On December 16, 75 observers sponsored by CAS spent the day counting birds in different areas of Columbus.  Relatively mild weather reduced the numbers of waterfowl, but a cold November and a torrential rainstorm the prior day suppressed numbers of lingering landbirds.  Seventeen teams were still able to push up totals of 77 species and 23,828 individual birds, with several species rare or new to the Count.

Count Date: December 16; 6:00 a.m. To 5:00 p.m.     Temp. 39-45 ºF.  Wind SW 0-3 mph   Still water mostly open, moving water open.  A.M., cloudy; P.M., overcast.  Observers: 72 in the field in 14-20 parties, 2 at feeders.   Total party hours:  123 (104 on foot, 18 in cars, 1 on bike, 2 owling).   Total Party miles:  330 (115 on foot, 212 in cars, 4 on bike, 4 owling)

Pied-billed Grebe – 5;  Double-crested Cormorant – 24;  Great Blue Heron – 48;  Black-cr.Night Heron – 1;  Mute Swan – 25;  swan sp. – 1;  Canada Goose – 2859; Wood Duck – 6;  Black Duck – 89;  Mallard – 724;  MallardXBlack Duck – 1; N. Shoveler – 1;  Blue-winged Teal – 5 (B&LD);  Gadwall – 162;  American Wigeon – 1;  Ring-necked Duck – 19;  Hooded Merganser – 105;  Wild Turkey –  48;  Sharp-shinned Hawk – 2;  Cooper’s Hawk – 32;  Red-shouldered Hawk – 8;  Red-tailed Hawk – 62;  Bald Eagle – 10;  Peregrine – 2;  Merlin – 4;  American Kestrel – 7;  Ring-billed Gull – 108;  Herring Gull – 10;  Rock Dove –1480;  Mourning Dove – 782;  Great Horned Owl – 3;  Barred Owl – 3;  Belted Kingfisher – 23;  Red-headed Woodpecker – 26;  Red-bellied Woodpecker – 194;  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – 7;  Downy Woodpecker – 222;  Hairy Woodpecker – 19;  N.Flicker – 52;  Pileated Woodpecker – 13;  E.Phoebe – 1 (C&PH);  Blue Jay – 456;  American Crow – 213;  Carolina Chickadee – 429;  Tufted Titmouse – 135;  White-breasted Nuthatch – 202;   Red-breasted Nuthatch – 11;  Brown Creeper – 34;  House Wren – 1 (B&LD);  Winter Wren – 4;  Carolina Wren – 192;  Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 3;  Golden-crowned Kinglet – 82;  Eastern Bluebird – 77;  Hermit Thrush – 1; American Robin – 1406;  N.Mockingbird – 22;  European Starling – 9,335;  Cedar Waxwing – 128;  Yellow-rumped Warbler – 18;  Northern Cardinal – 804;  Eastern Towhee – 16;  Chipping Sparrow – 3;  American Tree Sparrow – 45;  Field Sparrow – 1;  Song Sparrow – 193;  Swamp Sparrow – 13;  Lincoln’s Sparrow – 1 (KS);  Eastern Fox Sparrow – 4;  White-throated Sparrow – 540;  White-crowned Sparrow – 9;  Dark-eyed Junco – 372;  Red-winged Blackbird – 245;  Common Grackle – 1;  House Finch – 496;  Purple Finch – 4;  American Goldfinch – 313;  Pine Siskin – 18;  House Sparrow – 820

Totals:   77 species, 23,830 individuals

Birds seen Count Period, but not Count Day:  Gr.White-fronted Goose, Snow Goose, Bufflehead, Nashville Warbler, Pine Warbler

Observers:  Charlie Bombaci, Jenny Bowman, Susan Braunig, Ed & sheila Bremmer, Linda Brenner, John & Gerry Brevoort, Rose Conrad, Tim Daniel, Ken & Julie Davis, Brad & Lindsay Deering, Jalyn Deveraoux, Alex Eberts,  John Finn, Tyler Ficker, Diana Fowler,  Brad Gambill, Kandace Glanville, Michael Goldman, Jeff Grabmeier, Paul Graham, Kay Griesen, Nina Harfmann,  Nina Hawranick, Bill Heck, Corinna & Phoebe Honscheid, Becky & Mike Jordan, David Kelley, Jonathan Knape,  John Koon, Jennifer Kuehn,  William Kinkead,  Helen Lindsay, Doreen Linzell; Heather Luedecke, Karen & Frank Martens, Bernie Master,  Jim McCormac,  Dawn & Chris McCoy,  Bob McNulty, Joe Meara, Dick & Kathy Miller, James Muller, Jason Parrish, Lori Patterson, Sam Pollock, Pam Raver, Penny Reighert, Robert Royse, Dan Sanders, Andy Sewell, Colleen Sharkey, Katelyn & Tim Shelton, Darlene Sillick, Bruce Simpson, Shaune Skinner, Leslie Sours, Gene Stauffer, Larissa Swonger, Emily Sypolt, Rob Thorn (compiler), Pam Unger, Kai Victor, Carl & Karen Winstead, Stephanie West, Doug Whitman, Marlene Woo-Lun

Columbus counters found out that any CBC is more than just the day it occurs – it’s colored by much of the preceding weeks and months.  The moderate temperatures of the Count Day stood in marked contrast to the cold temperatures of November and early December, and the dry CBC belied the heavy rainfall that had occurred just the prior day.   These conflicting strands of past and present seemed to melt away birds, and our species and individual totals were well below recent years’.  Despite mostly open water, it was one of the most-feeble counts for waterfowl in recent memory, with low numbers of dabbling ducks and an almost complete absence of diving ducks.  Despite this, we did scrounge up some star waterfowl, including a count-week Greater White-fronted Goose (Bob Royse), 5 Blue-winged Teal (Brad & Lindsay Deering), and an eye-popping 162 Gadwall, most of which were in the Jackson Pike Wastewater Treatment Plant (John Finn).

Raptors turned in a respectable performance, with the 133 total better than most of the prior 10 years.  Leading the charge were an impressive 32 Cooper’s Hawks – nearly every team had 1 or 2.   Also noteworthy were 8 Red-shouldered hawks and 10 Bald Eagles, with the latter being found along every river course in the circle.  4 Merlin and 2 Peregrines were near or tied our all-time highs.  But open-country raptors continued their local disappearing act, with only 7 American Kestrels, and no Harriers or Rough-legged hawks.

For landbirds, it was a good count if you liked woodpeckers, Blue Jays, Kinglets, and Sparrows.  All woodpecker totals were healthy, and 26 Red-headed Woodpeckers was a modern high, led by 20 found by the Blendon Woods Team at the new Little Turtle Ravines section.  An Eastern Phoebe at Blendon Woods (m.ob.) was only our second ever on the CBC, while a House Wren at 3-Creeks was our first record since 1972 (Brad & Lindsay Deering).

Kinglets had an impressive Count – our 3 Ruby-crowns tied our all-time high, and our 82 Golden-crowns toasted the old record.  Generally, however, small landbirds had a poor showing, with low numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers, finches, blackbirds, and most sparrow species.  Even though Sparrows were low in number, their diversity was good, with 11 species highlighted by 4 Fox Sparrows, 3 Chipping Sparrows, and our second-ever Lincoln’s Sparrow, found at Blacklick Woods (Katelyn Shelton).  Some great birds showed up only just after the Count, making it to Count Week, including a Pine Warbler at Greenlawn Cemetery and a Nashville Warbler at the OSU wetlands.

What does this CBC tell us about future of winter birding in Columbus?  One CBC can’t be very predictive, but several trends have become apparent in the past decade of Counts, trends that probably reflect on our winter birds in general.  These include:

Fewer diving ducks and more dabblers.  As our lakes and creeks stay open now for much of the winter, we’re seeing many formerly-scarce dabblers hanging out here in the winter.  Conversely, more open water north of us seems to be drawing away many of our diving ducks for most of the early winter.  Goldeneye and Redheads are mostly gone, and Scaup and Buffleheads look to be following them.

Open-country birds will wink out, one-by-one. Meadowlarks are gone, Savannah Sparrows are now rare, as are Harriers.  Kestrels and White-crowned Sparrows are barely hanging on, while pipits and Horned Larks become ever-more unpredictable.  As long as we have Waterman Farms and 3-Creeks, we have a chance for some of these birds, but those chances are becoming smaller with time.

Fruit-eaters will become common.   When 77 Bluebirds and 1400+ Robins is considered a ‘down year’, you know something has changed.  For much of the winter we’ve watched flocks of these birds, along with Starlings, House Finches, and Cedar Waxwings, forage through our fruit-tree-lined streets…..and this was a year when the honeysuckle berry crop was non-existant after November.  These birds, and any others that learn to recognize this new food source, will do well.

New half-hardy species will become more regular.   Already, we’re starting to see many formerly-rare species become more regular.  Catbirds, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and Pine Warblers are starting to become expected, and we’re now looking for Phoebes, Lincoln’s Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, and unusual lingering warblers.  If global warming is coming, we’re already starting to see its vanguard.

Rob Thorn

YEAR19992000200120022003200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018
PBGr141711055158113713822167585
HornedGr122CW4
ComLoon1CW
Red-thr.LoonCW
DcCorm16223212251CW152539355638682824
GreatBlueH2215228418325251307351713173514128223548
BlackCrNight31151513121314241
AmBittern
MuteSwan2CWCW2713CW47131225
TundraSwanCW2
CanadaGoos8702020103326433922200952911798182922963362321321011542294020652463582727842859
CacklingGoos151
GrWhFrontGo2CW
SnowGoose70CW1CW1CW11CW
Ross’ GooseCWCW
WoodDuck515332CWCW12145545CW1036
BlackDuck47824536072831641557551461950345041729919663017320412211189
Mallard1328582774219013671937154688310082034198433371059155312801013819851890724
GreenwingT5CW3CW1631121CW4211
N.Shoveler728CW11311142105141
AmWigeon464CW115CW916CWCW1
Gadwall112426233642097216171679162
N.Pintail1125211
Canvasback6CW2
Redhead219511CW641
Ring-necked10711215328733613119193361101402021412011211619
G.ScaupCW
L.Scaup4447312321
Bufflehead2322312126911121CW
C.Goldeneye12CW11111CWCW
LongTailedDu
HoodedMerg120254279128424949421811271121147716214612570176105
Red-br.MergCW114
CommonMerg11
RuddyDuck11111146131
N.Harrier126CW11322
SharpShin511312553463413532
CoopersHawk10611142283522181815291319243017211632
Red-tailHawk4014332941214242494439446352426945445162
Red-shouldH1221123CW2123488
Rough-legH111611
BaldEagle1CWCW24457710468510
PeregrineCW21CW11CW112
Merlin11123521CW334
AmKestrel1135181138733248710410587
TurkeyVulture1
WildTurkey5CW3368125494983273948
RingNPheas112
Nbobwhite
ComGallinule1
AmerCoot5211156101116124129731
Sandhill Cran267
Killdeer161CW2CWCW2262
WilsonsSnipe11
Woodcock3
BonaptGull11CW237CW3
RingBillGull91898595323265106221436051072174121579334925107927202874327013281081108
HerringGull3376251721266121817391187310
Rock Dove183152195517722136141626531670120016551250116712319269011085178927212101480
MourningDove694421400515434401710896868847389371714595398878468202710782
BarnOwl
E.ScreechOw115132122111
GrHornedOwl3434121236245242123
BarredOwl142113336310671295373
LongEaredOw
ShortEarOwl
NsawWhet
Snowy Owl
RufousHumm1CW
BeltedKingf17517291391818261632352236151520102523
RedHeadWpr291411225813115226
RedBellyWpr686877103976313213511297165135104142148171144126251194
YelBellySaps454732088482191413114297
DownyWpr15189146155170117179261186172201225194228195250181156236222
HairyWpr1814181823181825211723192420193716182419
NoFlicker39412041492027633654615852847340606011952
PileatedWpr548652551217891313141662213
E.Phoebe1CW11
BlueJay39119714427820978278268278144323264201306349383204269502456
AmerCrow154454213804301138895517512170476927605868245300187316238274213
BlCapChickad2
CarolChickad520314588319290267424494433489553629482532447522438294666429
TuftedTitmous140105146887559144129154117139227160121175165169111187135
WhBrNuthatc9148142848270161134144123174188142141104149161120246202
RedBrNuthatc20892411648422214111111
BrownCreepr10103926402947396363618547340361682234
CarolinaWren842310012696571171906688717089160931178469251192
House Wren1
WinterWren1CW3115CW331322522CW94
RubyCrKingl11CW1211111113
GoldCrKinglet835191783194842714312115541711123782
HornedLark4155189152310172652126105188220
EastBluebird482150471682780382640215481926054426577
Wood Thrush1
HermitThrush246116252532121
VariedThrush
AmerRobin17264161014196333451046168217385124157238569865944387300016923439107620781406
Mockingbird331835463714343414123122334017341673422
GrayCatbird2CWCW1
BrownThrash1CW
EuroStarling486124663500838427114228746947156601089035540258054360413090159451025136648173066040195389335
AmerPipit31927811816
CedWaxwing192134318061135719920875226329128
LoggerhShr
NashvilleWb1CW
Orange-crWb1
PineWarb1CWCWCWCWCW11CW
PalmWarbCW
YelRumpWbr861181582014262315343717672257135518
AmerRedst11
Ovenbird1
ComYellowthr1
WestTanager1
N.Cardinal631655538690909873716827656453784714627584600551542455773804
EastTowhee17123112414641443018175162216
AmTreeSpw1169776964998312581186160684565395631762191945
FieldSpw321111113131263131
ChippingSpw1CW11110213
GrasshopSpw1
SavannahSpw21321311
SongSpw25885701531741272231941071761129314113322014214898152193
SwampSpw544726142143105421112413
FoxSpw112313CW33333124
Lincoln’sSpw11
Vesper Spw
WhiteThrSpw208222241589341378514918342607486474362560608408419391475540
WhiteCrSpw722556123712101210171114341741089
DarkEyJunco586371371459469479450471276534313344365293552420679409393372
LaplLongspur1218347
SnowBunting101
Dickcissel1
Emeadowlark71
RustyBlkbd1416325326
RedwingBlkb14121CW4023331831132426815245
ComGrackle551104234361309132438381CW9651
BrowHCowbd301811276617431CWCW53315030
Bullock’s Ori
HouseFinch805404460671333208435323287622382270445547341396371166456496
PurpleFinch31111114112124
AmerGoldfinc396208380507553233408634340591543346362353348345312313230313
PineSiskinCWCWCWCW225361756218
ComRedpoll
EveningGros
RedXbill
White-wingXb1CW5CW
HouseSpw211911082070141614551270146911029771123181696514131006977138719038511110819
TOTAL
SPECIES7561657576727774757980817889858279857977
HoursFoot6867778160709786981101451061221031379478103104
HourTot1101169510911090118118100122126180136160144180126122151123
LowTemp282425284223430282492638163226293339
Teams18151417141221131314191718151816161717