Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Laramie Christmas Bird Count Results

The Laramie Christmas Bird Count was held on December 14, 2013 this winter. Seventeen volunteers braved the cold, blustery conditions and counted 34 total species, with 3,050 individuals, down from previous years. By far the most numerous bird counted was Mallard, coming in with 1,031 individuals. Other good counts came from Rock Pigeons, House Sparrows, European Starlings, American Crows, and Common Ravens, all with over 100 counted.

Other highlights included a good diversity of raptors, with Bald and Golden Eagles, Sharp-shinned, Cooper's, Ferruginous, and Rough-legged Hawks, as well as two Merlins and two Prairie Falcons. Three Northern Shrikes were also recorded. However, songbirds were generally way down, with low counts of both chickadees and sparrows.

Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis) - Albany Co., WY
Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) - Nassau Co., NY

These results generally agree with results coming in from other Wyoming Christmas Bird Counts, with generally low counts of many birds, perhaps owing to an early season cold snap. As we continue into the winter, many typical winter birds are still absent from Wyoming or present in only very small numbers, such as rosy-finches. Normally found in good sized flocks in the foothills, rosy-finches are all but absent from most areas of the state.

Gray-crowned Rosy-finch - Laramie Co., WY

Hopefully birds will begin to show up before too long. Many waterfowl and gulls begin arriving around Laramie around mid-March, with spring migration picking up steam through April and May. So, get ready for some exciting birds soon! Until then, stay warm!

Note: all photos in this post are © Shawn Billerman

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