Jackson Audubon Society

 The Audubon Society of Jackson County, Michigan

2014 Christmas Bird Count

2014 Christmas Bird Count Summary

by Don Henise

Don's full blog with pictures, of course, available here


The 46th annual Waterloo Recreation Area Christmas Bird Count was held on Saturday, December 20th. Twenty-three participants in ten groups combed the count circle throughout the day, counting all the birds that they encountered. A day with no precipitation and no wind made for a comfortable day for the birders who were able to count a total of 64 species.

Highlights from the day included two species never recorded in the 45 previous years of the count. At Portage Lake, a group of nine White-winged Scoters were found independently by Allen King and Joyce Peterson. Gary Siegrist found at least two Virginia Rails in the Waterloo Marsh off of Riethmiller Road. The scoters, common on the great lakes, are quite rare inland. Virginia Rails are regular breeders in the Waterloo Marsh, but have usually migrated south way before December.


Partially opened water enabled the counters to record a number of waterfowl species. In addition to the normal Canada GeeseMute Swan, and Mallards, other waterfowl tallied were 1 Tundra Swan, 1Wood Duck, 8 Ring-necked Ducks, 1 Bufflehead, 9 Common Goldeneyes, and 24 Common Mergansers. Two adult Bald Eagleswere at Portage Lake, one of them made a low pass over the scoters, causing all 9 of them to dive underwater to escape. 

While many of us were viewing the scoters from the Portage Lake boat launch, a lone swan was sleeping on the ice with a group of Canada Geese. Because its head was tucked at the time, we were not able to identify it to species. Ross Green was able to photograph it a little while later when it stood up as the flock of geese flew off, confirming that it was a Tundra Swan.

A few other notable birds tallied were 2 Rough-legged Hawks, 1Barred Owl, 1 Short-eared Owl, 5 Red-headed Woodpeckers, 1Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, 5 Pileated Woodpeckers, 1 Northern Shrike, 1 Northern Mockingbird, 1 Common Grackle, and 39 Pine Siskins.

Thanks to all who participated and helped make the count a success. Mark your calendars!! The 2015 Waterloo Rec Area CBC will be held on December 19th. 


Species Totals:

Canada Goose     912
Mute Swan     17
Tundra Swan     1
Wood Duck     1
Mallard     83
Ring-necked Duck     8
White-winged Scoter     9
Bufflehead     1
Common Goldeneye     9
Common Merganser     24
Ring-necked Pheasant     1
Wild Turkey     101
Great Blue Heron     2
Bald Eagle     2
Sharp-shinned Hawk     4
Cooper's Hawk     5
Red-tailed Hawk     46
Rough-legged Hawk     2
American Kestrel     4
Virginia Rail     2
Sandhill Crane     172
Ring-billed Gull     152
Herring Gull     13
Rock Pigeon     240
Mourning Dove     628
Eastern Screech-Owl     6
Great Horned Owl     1
Barred Owl     1
Short-eared Owl     1
Belted Kingfisher     4
Red-headed Woodpecker     5
Red-bellied Woodpecker     55

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     1

Downy Woodpecker     103
Hairy Woodpecker     17
Northern Flicker    26
Pileated Woodpecker     5

Northern Shrike     1

Blue Jay     237
American Crow     350
Black-capped Chickadee     341
Tufted Titmouse     105
Red-breasted Nuthatch     4
White-breasted Nuthatch     135
Brown Creeper     4
Carolina Wren     3
Golden-crowned Kinglet     17
Eastern Bluebird     64
American Robin     20
Northern Mockingbird     1
European Starling     441
Cedar Waxwing     55
American Tree Sparrow     476
Song Sparrow     4
Swamp Sparrow     2
White-throated Sparrow     1
Dark-eyed Junco     366
Northern Cardinal     175
Common Grackle     1
Purple Finch     6
House Finch     155
Pine Siskin     39
American Goldfinch     200
House Sparrow     658


Species     64
Total Individuals 6525


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