Sunday, December 14, 2008

Niles Christmas Bird Count: 45-Year Summary

During the 45-year history (1961-1978 and 1981-2007) of the Niles (Michigan) Christmas Bird Count (CBC), 275,735 individuals of 132 species have been recorded. I live in the count circle, and plan to participate in the count for the first time next weekend. That has prompted me to prepare this brief summary of the 45-year history of the count.

Frequency of Occurrence/Yearly Regularity:

Seventeen species (13 percent) were recorded in each of the 45 years, twenty-six (20 percent) in 40 or more years, 67 (51 percent) in 23 or more years (i.e., on more than half of all counts), fifty-three (40 percent) in fewer than 10 years, and twenty-one (16 percent) in just one year.

Superabundant Species:

The fifteen most abundant species (underlined and boldfaced in the list below) accounted for 83 percent of the individuals recorded on the Niles CBC. Four of the 15 most abundant species (European Starling, House Sparrow, House Finch, Rock Pigeon) are introduced; collectively, these four species alone account for 30 percent of total individuals.

45-Year Summary:

The status of each species recorded during the 45-year history of the Niles CBC is summarized using the following conventions: Species Name—Number of years recorded (remarks, where appropriate): Median count (High count in Year(s)). Example: Nothern Harrier—16: 1 (3 in ’90). Names of species recorded fewer than 10 times are italicized. Names of species recorded on more than half of the counts are boldfaced. Names of species ranked in the top 15 in terms of abundance are boldfaced and underlined. For species recorded 10 or more times, high counts that exceed the median by a factor of 10 or more are underlined. Asterisks (*) denote high counts that occurred in three or more years. Years are denoted as follows: ’70 is 1970, ’05 is 2005, etc. Introduced species are denoted [I].

Snow Goose—6: 1 (5 in ‘70) {includes “Blue” form—4: 1 (2 in ’70) and “White” form—1: 3 (in ’70)}, Canada Goose—37: 434 (2,297 in ‘07), Cackling Goose—1: 5 (in ’07), Mute Swan [I]—15 (first in ’78): 1 (16 in ‘05), Tundra Swan—3: 1 (1*), Wood Duck—23: 2.5 (21 in ‘75), Gadwall—10: 3.5 (12 in ‘95), American Wigeon—1: 1 (in ’97), American Black Duck—33: 17 (86 in ‘61), Mallard—45: 278 (690 in ‘87), Blue-winged Teal—2: 1 (1*), Northern Pintail—4: 1 (2 in ‘97), Green-winged Teal—3: 3 (6 in ‘65).

Canvasback—9: 1 (16 in ‘74), Redhead—8: 1.5 (3 in ‘06), Ring-necked Duck—6: 1 (44 in ‘99), Greater Scaup—1: 1 (in ’05), Lesser Scaup—3: 3 (6 in ‘74), unidentified scaup—1: 2 (in ’94), White-winged Scoter—1: 2 (in ’98), Long-tailed Duck—1: 1 (in ’76), Bufflehead—32: 2 (13 in ‘07), Common Goldeneye—37: 44 (431 in ‘76), Barrow’s Goldeneye—1: 1 (in ’77), Hooded Merganser—26: 3 (60 in ‘91), Common Merganser—31: 9 (60 in ‘61), Red-breasted Merganser—5: 1 (3 in ’67 & ‘97), Ruddy Duck—4: 1 (4 in ‘06), unidentified duck—5: 2 (8 in ’99).

Ring-necked Pheasant [I]—33: 7 (98 in ‘70), Ruffed Grouse—23 (last in ’93): 3 (10 in ’71 & ‘73), Wild Turkey [I]—9 (first in ’94): 11 (121 in ‘05), Northern Bobwhite [I]—9 (last in ’78): 15 (71 in ‘73).

Common Loon—6: 1 (2 in ’91), Pied-billed Grebe—26: 1.5 (24 in ’75), Horned Grebe—4: 2 (3 in ’74), Eared Grebe—1: 1 (in ’83), unidentified grebe—1: 2 (in ’04), Double-crested Cormorant—1: 1 (in ’03), Great Blue Heron—26: 4 (15 in ‘98).

Turkey Vulture—1: 2 (in ’63), Bald Eagle—6: 1 (3 in ’00), Nothern Harrier—16: 1 (3 in ’90), Sharp-shinned Hawk—33: 2 (7 in ’89), Cooper’s Hawk—39: 3 (10 in ’05), Northern Goshawk—2: 1(in ’88 & ’07), unidentified Accipiter—7: 1 (4 in ’95), Red-shouldered Hawk—25: 1 (5 in ‘04), Red-tailed Hawk—45: 15 (53 in ’95), Rough-legged Hawk—33: 2 (12 in ’94), unidentified Buteo—8: 2.5 (5 in ’95), unidentified hawk—2: 1 (in ’98 & ’07), American Kestrel—45: 7 (24 in ’92), Merlin—1: 1 (in ’82), unidentified falcon—1: 1 (in ’98).

American Coot—22: 10.5 (177 in ’99), Sandhill Crane—1: 4 (in ’05), Killdeer—11: 1 (10 in ’98), Wilson’s Snipe—13: 2 (9 in ’76), American Woodcock—6: 1 (2 in ’73 & ’75), Ring-billed Gull—32: 37.5 (2,253 in ’07), Herring Gull—42: 9.5 (1,446 in ’05), unidentified gull—12: 61 (271 in ’94).

Rock Pigeon [I] (first tallied on CBCs in ’73)—33: 111 (276 in ’95), Mourning Dove—44: 291.5 (1,188 in ’74), Barn Owl—4: 1 (3 in ’76), Eastern Screech-Owl—41: 9 (181 in ’73), Great Horned Owl—40: 4 (41 in ’81), Snowy Owl—1: 1(in ’76), Barred Owl—26: 2 (4 in ’75 & ’92), Long-eared Owl—7: 1 (1*), Northern Saw-whet Owl—3: 1 (2 in ’73), Short-eared Owl—3: 1 (1*), unidentified owl—1: 1 (in ’93).

Belted Kingfisher—40: 4 (12 in ’78 & ’84), Red-headed Woodpecker—38: 2 (34 in ’71), Red-bellied Woodpecker—44: 28.5 (105 in ’04), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker—26: 1.5 (8 in ’69), Downy Woodpecker—45: 62 (119 in ’95), Hairy Woodpecker—45: 9 (22 in ’63), Northern Flicker—43: 15 (56 in ’02), Pileated Woodpecker—12: 2 (7 in ’07), Eastern Phoebe—1: 1 (in ’87).

Northern Shrike—5: 1 (1*), Blue Jay—45: 183 (409 in ’84), American Crow—45: 239 (781 in ’99), Horned Lark—38: 34.5 (388 in ’75), Black-capped Chickadee—45: 131 (478 in ’87), Tufted Titmouse—45: 90 (186 in ’89), Red-breasted Nuthatch—36: 6 (39 in ’99 & 07), White-breasted Nuthatch—45: 85 (181 in ’89), Brown Creeper—44: 6 (25 in ’86).

Carolina Wren—25: 4 (15 in ’05), Winter Wren—20: 2 (6 in ’74), Golden-crowned Kinglet—35: 5 (22 in ’02), Ruby-crowned Kinglet—3: 2 (2 in ’74 & ’87), Eastern Bluebird—35: 14 (103 in ’06), Townsend’s Solitaire—1: 1 (in ’07), Swainson’s Thrush—1: 1 (in ’78), Hermit Thrush—16: 1 (4 in ’02), American Robin—38: 8 (305 in ’98), Gray Catbird—2: 1 (1 in ’74 & ’06), Northern Mockingbird—11: 3 (9 in ’76), Brown Thrasher—4: 1 (1*).

European Starling [I]—45: 561 (4,700 in ’69), Bohemian Waxwing—1: 1 (in 74), Cedar Waxwing—39: 59 (775 in ’90), Yellow Warbler—1: 1 (in ’93), Yellow-rumped Warbler—28: 4 (13 in ’78), Palm Warbler—1: 1 (in ’78), unidentified warbler—1: 1 (in ’94).

Eastern Towhee—15: 1 (4 in ’71), American Tree Sparrow—45: 190 (890 in ’71), Field Sparrow—24: 8 (62 in ’00), Vesper Sparrow—2: 1 (1 in ’87 & ‘88), Savannah Sparrow—1: 1 (in ’71), Fox Sparrow—10: 1 (3 in ’89), Song Sparrow—45: 26 (100 in ’63), Lincoln’s Sparrow—2: 4 (7 in ’63), Swamp Sparrow—31: 2 (16 in ’71), White-throated Sparrow—27: 3 (17 in ’05), White-crowned Sparrow—30: 3 (31 in ’84), unidentified sparrow—10: 5.5 (140 in ’95), Dark-eyed Junco—45: 590 (1,145 in ’75) {includes “Oregon” Junco—5: 2 (11 in ’64), “Pink-sided” Junco—1: 1 (in ’07), and “Slate-colored Junco”—39: 513 (1,745 in ’75) }, Lapland Longspur—8: 2 (5 in ’71), Snow Bunting—22: 51.5 (360 in ’73).

Northern Cardinal—45: 244 (507 in ’89), Red-winged Blackbird—17: 2 (107 in ’83), Eastern Meadowlark—14: 2 (22 in ’69), Rusty Blackbird—2: 2 (3 in ’87), Brewer’s Blackbird—1: 2 (in ’90), Common Grackle—27: 4 (300 in ’06), Brown-headed Cowbird—23: 4 (131 in ’73), unidentified blackbird—1: 1 (in ’04).

Pine Grosbeak—2: 7.5 (10 in ’85), Purple Finch—41: 12 (61 in ’87), House Finch [I]—24 (first in ’84): 274.5 (815 in ’91), Red Crossbill—3: 5 (8 in ’75), unidentified crossbill—1: 3 (in ’82), Common Redpoll—19: 12 (730 in ’69), Hoary Redpoll—1: 1 (in ’93), Pine Siskin—25: 14 (236 in ’87), American Goldfinch—45: 199 (532 in ’88), Evening Grosbeak—14: 10.5 (167 in ’69), House Sparrow [I]—45: 650 (2,000 in ’66).

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