Christmas Bird Count

Since 1900, the National Audubon Society has operated a citizen science program aimed at counting all birds within a 15-mile diameter circle found on a pre-selected day within two weeks of Christmas Day. This is the Christmas Bird Count, and it remains one of the primary sources of information on populations of wild birds in North America.

The Payne County Audubon Society sponsors two local CBCs. The Stillwater CBC was founded in 1947 by Fred and Marguerite Baumgartner. In 1990, under the leadership of John Couch, we added the Sooner Lake CBC. In 2019, the National Audubon Society conducted the 120th annual Christmas Bird Counts; for Stillwater this was the 72nd CBC and this was the 29th Sooner Lake CBC.

Here’s a video illustrating exactly how to find a CBC in which you can participate and how to access historical data by count and by species.


2019 Stillwater and Sooner Lake Christmas Bird Counts

The 120th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Counts took place on Tuesday December 17 (Sooner Lake) and Saturday December 21 (Stillwater). Results of the Sooner Lake CBC will be forthcoming, but the Stillwater CBC results are now available. Read on.

StillwaterCBC2019Results

Twenty-eight volunteers contributed their time and efforts to the 2019 Stillwater Christmas Bird Count hosted by the Payne County Audubon Society on Saturday, December 21. At least 10 parties went out on an overcast and still day with temperatures holding in the 40s. Collectively, the volunteers logged more than 73 hours toward the effort, including 35 miles walked and 364 miles driven to access the 15-mile diameter circle centered on Redlands Rd. east of Lake Carl Blackwell.

Altogether we counted 18,836 individuals of at least 107 different species of birds.

We set new high count records for at least 14 species, with 55 Pied-billed Grebes (previous high 37) 27 Herring Gulls (12), 82 Red-bellied Woodpeckers (76), 115 Northern Flickers (93), 24 Pileated Woodpeckers (13), 38 American Kestrels (37), 11 Eastern Phoebes (6), 9 Brown Creepers (8), 4 Winter Wrens (3), 113 Carolina Wrens (86), 8 Bewick’s Wrens (7), 6 Brown Thrashers (4), 84 Spotted Towhees (37), and 289 Northern Cardinals (279).

This was also the first count for which we found Common Yellowthroat (1) and Black Vulture (1), and only the second time that Orange-crowned Warbler (1), Pine Warbler (1), and Marsh Wren (1) have been detected on the Stillwater CBC.

Thanks to the following volunteers who made this count pretty special: Mike Yough, Caleb McKinney, Emily Geest, Ray Moranz, Helena Noranz, Jay Nabar, Jacob Johnson, Elaine Stebler, Rebecca Bond, David Leslie, Mary Leslie, Eric Duell, David Londe, Keira Kauffman, Jim Cowley, Suz Cowley, Kent Andersson, Jennifer Grindstaff, Linnea Andersson, Mary Towner, James Kowaleski, Deb Hirt, Jess Torres, Dave Latham, Doug Latham, Erin Latham, Tim O’Connell, and Brad Rogers.

Here’s the total species list:

  1. 4233    American Robin
  2. 1821    Canada Goose
  3. 1575    European Starling
  4. 1060    Ring-billed Gull
  5. 1012    Brewer’s Blackbird
  6. 1008    Dark-eyed Junco
  7. 770      Cedar Waxwing
  8. 749      Mallard
  9. 727      Red-winged Blackbird
  10. 447      Cackling Goose
  11. 329      American Crow
  12. 307      Eastern Meadowlark
  13. 289      Northern Cardinal
  14. 227      Mourning Dove
  15. 225      Ring-necked Duck
  16. 215      Blue Jay
  17. 208      Savannah Sparrow
  18. 200      Song Sparrow
  19. 198      Yellow-rumped Warbler
  20. 197      Western/Eastern Meadowlark
  21. 193      Gadwall
  22. 177      Carolina Chickadee
  23. 175      Rock Pigeon
  24. 175      Eastern Bluebird
  25. 163      American Goldfinch
  26. 134      Double-crested Cormorant
  27. 115      Northern Flicker
  28. 113      Carolina Wren
  29. 109      House Sparrow
  30. 97        Harris’s Sparrow
  31. 87        Red-tailed Hawk
  32. 84        Spotted Towhee
  33. 82        Red-bellied Woodpecker
  34. 76        Field Sparrow
  35. 75        White-throated Sparrow
  36. 68        Northern Mockingbird
  37. 64        Tufted Titmouse
  38. 59        American Wigeon
  39. 57        Redhead
  40. 57        American Coot
  41. 55        Pied-billed Grebe
  42. 51        Downy Woodpecker
  43. 45        blackbird sp.
  44. 38        American Kestrel
  45. 33        Great Blue Heron
  46. 30        Green-winged Teal
  47. 29        Red-shouldered Hawk
  48. 27        Hooded Merganser
  49. 27        Herring Gull
  50. 26        Smith’s Longspur
  51. 26        White-crowned Sparrow
  52. 25        Northern Shoveler
  53. 24        Pileated Woodpecker
  54. 23        Brown-headed Cowbird
  55. 22        Wild Turkey
  56. 22        Eurasian Collared-Dove
  57. 22        Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  58. 21        Northern Harrier
  59. 21        Fox Sparrow
  60. 16        Lesser Scaup
  61. 16        Common Goldeneye
  62. 16        White-breasted Nuthatch
  63. 16        House Finch
  64. 16        Chipping Sparrow
  65. 16        Common Grackle
  66. 15        Lincoln’s Sparrow
  67. 12        Northern Bobwhite
  68. 12        Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  69. 11        Eastern Phoebe
  70. 10        Wood Duck
  71. 10        Greater/Lesser Scaup
  72. 10        Golden-crowned Kinglet
  73. 9          Northern Pintail
  74. 9          Brown Creeper
  75. 8          Great Horned Owl
  76. 8          Bewick’s Wren
  77. 8          Swamp Sparrow
  78. 7          Belted Kingfisher
  79. 6          Sharp-shinned Hawk
  80. 6          Brown Thrasher
  81. 5          Barred Owl
  82. 5          Hairy Woodpecker
  83. 5          LeConte’s Sparrow
  84. 4          Bufflehead
  85. 4          Winter Wren
  86. 4          Western Meadowlark
  87. 3          Greater White-fronted Goose
  88. 3          Killdeer
  89. 3          Bonaparte’s Gull
  90. 3          Loggerhead Shrike
  91. 3          Eastern Towhee
  92. 2          Blue-winged Teal
  93. 2          Mallard (Domestic type)
  94. 2          Ruddy Duck
  95. 2          Cooper’s Hawk
  96. 2          Bald Eagle
  97. 2          Prairie Falcon
  98. 2          Red-breasted Nuthatch
  99. 2          Hermit Thrush
  100. 1          Snow Goose
  101. 1          Ross’s Goose
  102. 1          domesticated goose
  103. 1          Common Loon
  104. 1          gull sp.
  105. 1          Black Vulture
  106. 1          Turkey Vulture
  107. 1          Red-headed Woodpecker
  108. 1          House Wren
  109. 1          Marsh Wren
  110. 1          American Tree Sparrow
  111. 1          Vesper Sparrow
  112. 1          Spotted/Eastern Towhee
  113. 1          Pine Warbler
  114. 1          Orange-crowned Warbler
  115. 1          Common Yellowthroat
  116. 1          Greater Roadrunner

 


Notes in preparation of the 2020 CBCs:

In 2020, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count will be 121 years old! This will be the 73rd annual Stillwater CBC and the 30th annual Sooner Lake CBC. Please watch this space for information on how you can help out. Specific dates for the Sooner Lake and Stillwater counts are TBA, but the Stillwater CBC is likely to be SATURDAY, 19 DECEMBER 2020.

Watch this space for announcements related to the 2020 Sooner Lake and Stillwater Christmas Bird Counts. Here are some do’s and don’ts:

  1. DO join us for one or both counts.

  2. DON’T think you’re not good enough at counting birds to help. The CBC is a great way to get started in birding!

  3. Thanks, have fun, be safe, and good birding!


 

Our Sooner Lake count circle is centered on the junction of routes 177 and 15, at the southwestern corner of Sooner Lake. Our Stillwater count circle is centered 2 miles north of Rt. 51 on Redlands Rd. All CBCs extend 7.5 miles in all directions from their origin point, so the count area is a circle of 15 miles diameter.

On the preselected day, we count every individual of every species – even starlings and pigeons – within our circle.  To avoid double-counting the same birds, we divide the circle into zones with a leader who will organize the effort in that smaller area.  Here are the 2019 count circles with leaders indicated for each zone:

Screen Shot 2019-12-19 at 8.07.09 AM.png
2019 Sooner Lake Christmas Bird Count. Compiler: John Couch, jrcouch60@yahoo.com.

 

Screen Shot 2019-12-19 at 8.03.30 AM.png
2019 Stillwater Christmas Bird Count. Compiler: Tim O’Connell, tim.oconnell@okstate.edu.

To submit your count data, use the following form to report the total number of each species you observed in your count area. (If counting from a stationary location such as a backyard, report the largest number of each species you observe at any one time – don’t count the same cardinal on your feeder as a different bird every time you see it.)

Please use one of these checklists to report your CBC results:

MSWord version:  2019 Winter Birds of Payne County

pdf: 2019 Winter Birds of Payne County

NOTE: It’s very important that we capture some information from you in addition to your bird counts, especially if you do any portion of the count on your own.  We will need to report how many people were in your party, their first and last names, how many hours you spent looking for birds, and how many miles you drove and/or walked over the course of the day.  This information is necessary to calculate the abundance of species detected as a function of the total effort invested. Walking miles are always difficult to estimate, but if you take a moment to jot down the time and your vehicle mileage before you head out, that will help a lot!


History of the Christmas Bird Counts

The brainchild of ornithologist Frank Chapman at the American Museum of Natural History in 1900, the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count was among the first true citizen science endeavors. Today, with more than a century of data under our collective belt, the CBC provides some of the best data on long-term population trends for wintering birds in the US and Canada. For species that breed well north of the reach of the Breeding Bird Survey, the CBC provides our only systematic sample of populations.

Screen Shot 2018-01-07 at 1.22.52 PM

Listen to the late, great Chan Robbins – founder of the North American Breeding Bird Survey – explaining the origin and value of the Christmas Bird Count. Chan should know, as he participated in more than 400 of them!

Our Stillwater CBC was founded in 1947 by husband-and-wife ornithologists Fred and Marguerite Baumgartner. Their efforts, combined with the dedicated leadership and service of all the members and friends of the Payne County Audubon Society, have helped build a remarkable database that tracks bird populations and, by extension, habitat changes in our region.

For just one example, check out this comparison of Loggerhead Shrike vs. Eurasian Collared Dove on our count over the last 30 years or so. (The abundance estimate on the vertical axis is birds/party-hour, which is a way to correct for the varying number of people participating year to year):

screen-shot-2016-12-27-at-2-22-46-pm

The grassland-dependent Loggerhead Shrike has declined dramatically, especially within the last 15 years. In contrast, the urban-adapted Eurasian Collared Dove has recently colonized Stillwater and is steadily increasing in abundance.

This page explains a bit more about our local Christmas Bird Counts, and provides summaries of past counts. We hope you can join us for the next one in December 2019!


2018 Stillwater CBC Results

Cloudy and cold (officially 23–31 F) but, thankfully, winds were light for the 2018 Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 29th. With a few exceptions, overall numbers were down and the 97 species on the list is a bit off pace for the past few years, but there was still lots to see and enjoy on the CBC, including 11,675 individual birds. We recorded the Stillwater Count’s first White-winged Doves – 22 of them!  These might represent the true leading edge of that species’ expansion northward. We also had new high counts for Ring-necked Duck (296), Double-crested Cormorant (307), and Greater Roadrunner (6), with 6 Eastern Phoebes tying the high count record that that species.

Here are some photos to get us going – the grainy, distant, and out-of-focus ones are from Tim O’Connell; Jim Cowley supplied the good ones!

 

We are grateful to 25 volunteers who bundled up and trundled out to spend the day afield! Together we had 10 parties investing 62.5 hours in searching for birds, with 239 miles driven and 17.5 walked. Thank you for your time and effort Jessica Torres, Deb Hirt, James Kowaleski, Ryan Shannon, Ashley Love, Eric Duell, Elaine Stebler, Damona Doye, Iris McPherson, Scott Loss, Erin Latham, David Latham, Doug Latham, Janet Latham, Lori Green, Jim Shaw, Ray Moranz, Helena Moranz, Les Imboden, Susie Taylor, Jim Cowley, Suze Cowley, Corey Riding, Ron Huebner, and Tim O’Connell.

With at least 200 individuals reported, here are the 12 most abundant species on the 2018 Count:

  1. Ring-billed Gull – 2161
  2. Canada Goose – 1810
  3. American Robin – 1063
  4. Dark-eyed Junco – 923
  5. European Starling – 559
  6. Cedar Waxwing – 487
  7. Brewer’s Blackbird – 441
  8. Mallard – 337
  9. Double-crested Cormorant – 307
  10. Ring-necked Duck – 296
  11. American Crow – 246
  12. Eastern Meadowlark – 210

Here’s the complete list, more-or-less organized taxonomically:

  1. Common Loon 1
  2. Pied-billed Grebe 23
  3. Double-crested Cormorant 307
  4. Great Blue Heron 19
  5. Canada Goose 1810
  6. Cackling Goose 198
  7. Mallard 337
  8. Mallard (domesticated type) 17
  9. Gadwall 148
  10. Green-winged Teal 10
  11. American Wigeon 10
  12. Northern Shoveler 23
  13. Ruddy Duck 2
  14. Redhead 3
  15. Lesser Scaup 33
  16. Greater/Lesser Scaup 21
  17. Ring-necked Duck 296
  18. Bufflehead 17
  19. Common Goldeneye 6
  20. Common Merganser 62
  21. Hooded Merganser 29
  22. American Coot 64
  23. Killdeer 2
  24. Wilson’s Snipe 3
  25. Least Sandpiper 1
  26. Ring-billed Gull 2161
  27. Herring Gull 4
  28. Bald Eagle 5
  29. Northern Harrier 15
  30. Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
  31. Cooper’s Hawk 3
  32. Red-shouldered Hawk 35
  33. Red-tailed Hawk 69
  34. Rough-legged Hawk 1
  35. American Kestrel 16
  36. Merlin 2
  37. Prairie Falcon 1
  38. Northern Bobwhite 1
  39. Wild Turkey 46
  40. Rock Pigeon 47
  41. Mourning Dove 109
  42. Eurasian Collared Dove 3
  43. White-winged Dove 22
  44. Greater Roadrunner 6
  45. Great-horned Owl 8
  46. Barred Owl 4
  47. Belted Kingfisher 3
  48. Northern Flicker 66
  49. Red-bellied Woodpecker 38
  50. Red-headed Woodpecker 1
  51. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 14
  52. Downy Woodpecker 20
  53. Hairy Woodpecker 7
  54. Pileated Woodpecker 5
  55. Eastern Phoebe 6
  56. Blue Jay 194
  57. American Crow 246
  58. Tufted Titmouse 29
  59. Carolina Chickadee 61
  60. White-breasted Nuthatch 11
  61. Red-breasted Nuthatch 13
  62. Brown Creeper 3
  63. Carolina Wren 28
  64. Bewick’s Wren 3
  65. House Wren 1
  66. Golden-crowned Kinglet 9
  67. Ruby-crowned Kinglet 9
  68. Eastern Bluebird 195
  69. Hermit Thrush 4
  70. American Robin 1063
  71. Northern Mockingbird 43
  72. Brown Thrasher 2
  73. Cedar Waxwing 487
  74. Loggerhead Shrike 2
  75. European Starling 559
  76. Yellow-rumped Warbler 42
  77. Northern Cardinal 174
  78. Spotted Towhee 6
  79. Savannah Sparrow 23
  80. Song Sparrow 105
  81. Chipping Sparrow 1
  82. Field Sparrow 33
  83. Dark-eyed Junco 923
  84. White-throated Sparrow 37
  85. White-crowned Sparrow 12
  86. Harris’s Sparrow 163
  87. Fox Sparrow 18
  88. Swamp Sparrow 3
  89. Lincoln’s Sparrow 6
  90. Eastern Meadowlark 210
  91. Western Meadowlark 79
  92. Red-winged Blackbird 23
  93. Brewer’s Blackbird 441
  94. House Sparrow 101
  95. American Goldfinch 120
  96. House Finch 23
  97. Purple Finch 9

Enjoy these photos by Jessica Torres! Thanks for your interest in the Christmas Bird Count.

 


2017 Stillwater CBC Results

Twenty-seven hearty souls braved frigid north winds, dull skies, and freezing fog to participate in the 118th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count on 30 December 2017. It really was miserable outside, but as uncomfortable as we were, focusing on those birds out there just trying to survive kept us going. In 64.5 hours, those 27 volunteers walked 22.2 miles and drove 325.3 miles in their quest to count at least 16,893 individuals of 101 species. Many thanks to our searchers: Tim O’Connell, Craig Davis, Ray Moranz, Andrew Moranz, Abbey Ramirez, Cassandra Rodenbaugh, Les Imboden, John Couch, Corey Riding, Eric Duell, Jonathan Harris, Ashley Knoch, Ashley Love, Ryan Shannon, Caitlin Laughlin, Luci Wilson, Damona Doye, Elaine Stebler, Kent Andersson, Jen Grindstaff, Dave Latham, Doug Latham, Janet Latham, Erin Latham, Jessica Torres, Deb Hirt, and Richard Burnett.

Here’s what we found (species names in bold indicate new high counts):

Species                                                    Number

  1. Greater White-fronted Goose, 8
  2. Snow Goose, 2
  3. Ross’s Goose, 10
  4. Cackling Goose, 721
  5. Canada Goose, 2447
  6. Canada/Cackling goose, 522
  7. Gadwall, 312
  8. American Wigeon, 45
  9. Mallard, 853
  10. Mallard (Domestic type), 7
  11. Northern Shoveler, 30
  12. Northern Pintail, 1
  13. Green-winged Teal, 3
  14. Canvasback, 59
  15. Redhead, 55
  16. Ring-necked Duck, 261
  17. Lesser Scaup, 40
  18. Greater/Lesser Scaup, 3
  19. Bufflehead, 17
  20. Common Goldeneye, 17
  21. Hooded Merganser,  50
  22. Common Merganser, 16
  23. Red-breasted Merganser, 9
  24. Ruddy Duck, 8
  25. Ruddy Shelduck, 1
  26. duck spp, 400
  27. Northern Bobwhite, 59
  28. Wild Turkey, 14
  29. Pied-billed Grebe, 38
  30. Double-crested Cormorant, 30
  31. Great Blue Heron, 18
  32. Northern Harrier, 20
  33. Sharp-shinned Hawk, 2
  34. Cooper’s Hawk, 1
  35. Cooper’s/Sharp-shinned hawk,  1
  36. Bald Eagle, 3
  37. Red-shouldered Hawk, 17
  38. Red-tailed Hawk, 35
  39. American Coot , 23
  40. Killdeer , 5
  41. Wilson’s Snipe, 1
  42. Ring-billed Gull, 2633
  43. Herring Gull, 8
  44. Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1
  45. Rock Pigeon, 190
  46. Eurasian Collared-Dove, 5
  47. Mourning Dove, 192
  48. Greater Roadrunner, 1
  49. Great Horned Owl, 2
  50. Barred Owl, 8
  51. Belted Kingfisher, 1
  52. Red-bellied Woodpecker, 48
  53. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, 8
  54. Downy Woodpecker, 42
  55. Hairy Woodpecker, 2
  56. Northern Flicker, 54
  57. Pileated Woodpecker, 3
  58. American Kestrel, 24
  59. Merlin, 1
  60. Prairie Falcon, 1
  61. Eastern Phoebe, 5
  62. Loggerhead Shrike, 2
  63. Blue Jay, 153
  64. American Crow, 296
  65. Carolina Chickadee, 104
  66. Tufted Titmouse, 34
  67. White-breasted Nuthatch, 21
  68. Brown Creeper ,4
  69. Winter Wren, 2
  70. Carolina Wren, 33
  71. Bewick’s Wren, 1
  72. Golden-crowned Kinglet, 15
  73. Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 7
  74. Eastern Bluebird, 168
  75. Hermit Thrush, 4
  76. American Robin, 1192
  77. Brown Thrasher, 2
  78. Northern Mockingbird, 42
  79. European Starling, 1128
  80. Cedar Waxwing, 719
  81. Lapland Longspur, 2
  82. Smith’s Longspur, 221
  83. Orange-crowned Warbler, 1
  84. Yellow-rumped Warbler, 323
  85. Chipping Sparrow, 22
  86. Field Sparrow, 51
  87. Fox Sparrow, 10
  88. Dark-eyed Junco, 1151
  89. White-crowned Sparrow, 60
  90. Harris’s Sparrow, 223
  91. White-throated Sparrow, 50
  92. Savannah Sparrow, 17
  93. Song Sparrow, 65
  94. Lincoln’s Sparrow, 4
  95. Spotted Towhee, 13
  96. Northern Cardinal, 234
  97. Red-winged Blackbird, 353
  98. Western Meadowlark, 34
  99. Eastern Meadowlark, 118
  100. Western/Eastern Meadowlark, 105
  101. Brewer’s Blackbird, 103
  102. Common Grackle, 1
  103. Brown-headed Cowbird, 9
  104. House Finch, 4
  105. Pine Siskin, 21
  106. American Goldfinch, 193
  107. House Sparrow, 145

Congratulations – and thanks for sharing – Jessica Torres who came back from the zone west of Lake McMurtry with these extraordinary photos!

 


2016 Stillwater CBC Results

The 117th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Counts have been completed. The Sooner Lake CBC was conducted on Monday, Dec. 19 and the Stillwater CBC on Wednesday, Dec. 21.

screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-7-43-09-pm
Morning dawned pink, purple, and cold at Lake Carl Blackwell.

Twenty-six people donated their time and talents to the Stillwater CBC, and we are grateful to each of them: Alex James, John Polo, Tim O’Connell, Ian Kanda, Sean Smart,
Damona Doye, Elaine Stebler, John McQuaig, Austin Jenkins, Holly Ewing, Scott Loss, Les Imboden, Leslie Miller, Freddy Miller, Helen Jordan, Lelia Heading, Kent Andersson, Linnea Andersson, Jennifer Grindstaff, Caitlin Laughlin, Mike Yough, Corey Riding, Jane Cronin, Eric Duell, Cyndi Park, and Jonathan Harris.

Together, these volunteers tallied 22,018 individuals of approximately 106 species. We set new high counts for at least 29 species:

number Species Total number Species Total
1 Greater White-fronted Goose 41 55 Red-headed Woodpecker 8
2 Snow Goose 2 56 Red-bellied Woodpecker 63
3 Cackling Goose 634 57 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 31
4 Canada Goose 3820 58 Downy Woodpecker 58
5 swan sp. 1 59 Hairy Woodpecker 7
6 Wood Duck 6 60 Northern Flicker 92
7 Gadwall 682 61 Pileated Woodpecker 9
8 American Wigeon 98 62 American Kestrel 37
9 Mallard 1594 63 Merlin 4
10 Mallard (Domestic type) 7 64 falcon sp 1
11 Northern Shoveler 96 65 Eastern Phoebe 2
12 Blue-winged Teal 101 66 Loggerhead Shrike 3
13 Green-winged Teal 66 67 Blue Jay 456
14 Northern Pintail 11 68 American Crow 232
15 Canvasback 45 69 Carolina Chickadee 211
16 Redhead 184 70 Tufted Titmouse 46
17 Ring-necked Duck 49 71 Red-breasted Nuthatch 4
18 Lesser Scaup 14 72 White-breasted Nuthatch 31
19 Greater Scaup 2 73 Brown Creeper 8
20 Bufflehead 95 74 Winter Wren 3
21 Barrow’s Goldeneye 7 75 Sedge Wren 1
22 Common Goldeneye 22 76 Carolina Wren 86
23 Hooded Merganser 332 77 Bewick’s Wren 7
24 Common Merganser 186 78 Golden-crowned Kinglet 12
25 Ruddy Duck 26 79 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 16
26 duck sp. 62 80 Eastern Bluebird 287
27 Northern Bobwhite 6 81 Hermit Thrush 8
28 Wild Turkey 22 82 American Robin 3429
29 Common Loon 4 83 Northern Mockingbird 94
30 Pied-billed Grebe 24 84 European Starling 1907
31 Double-crested Cormorant 12 85 Cedar Waxwing 1147
32 American White Pelican 30 86 Yellow-rumped Warbler 164
33 Great Blue Heron 54 87 Chipping Sparrow 9
34 Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 2 88 Field Sparrow 61
35 Northern Harrier 21 89 Fox Sparrow 13
36 Sharp-shinned Hawk 8 90 Dark-eyed Junco 679
37 Cooper’s Hawk 4 91 White-crowned Sparrow 14
38 Red-shouldered Hawk 39 92 Harris’s Sparrow 166
39 Red-tailed Hawk 119 93 White-throated Sparrow 52
40 Rough-legged Hawk 1 94 Savannah Sparrow 33
41 American Coot 112 95 Song Sparrow 166
42 Killdeer 11 96 Lincoln’s Sparrow 20
43 Least Sandpiper 8 97 Swamp Sparrow 4
44 Wilson’s Snipe 2 98 Spotted Towhee 27
45 Greater Yellowlegs 2 99 sparrow sp. 45
46 Ring-billed Gull 373 100 Northern Cardinal 208
47 Herring Gull 12 101 Red-winged Blackbird 401
48 Rock Pigeon 275 102 Eastern Meadowlark 203
49 Eurasian Collared-Dove 38 103 Western Meadowlark 46
50 Mourning Dove 422 104 Western/Eastern Meadowlark 275
51 Greater Roadrunner 5 105 Brewer’s Blackbird 562
52 Great Horned Owl 15 106 Common Grackle 40
53 Barred Owl 7 107 Great-tailed Grackle 8
54 Belted Kingfisher 21 108 Brown-headed Cowbird 362
109 House Finch 23
110 Purple Finch 16
111 American Goldfinch 91
112 House Sparrow 198

The seven(!) Barrow’s Goldeneyes reported from Lake McMurtry win the rarity prize for this count, but without photos they’re likely to be omitted in the records review process. We also had some great “count week” birds (those observed within 3 days before or after the count, but not on the count day itself): Brown Pelican, Lesser Black-backed Gull, and Red-breasted Merganser (all from Boomer Lake).

There is always plenty to see on a Christmas Bird Count, and this year was no exception:

Official2016CBCresults


2015 Stillwater CBC Results

Stillwater’s Audubon Christmas Bird Count took place on Saturday, Dec. 19th 2015, with 31 members and friends spending a day in the field counting local birds. The local count, held each year since 1947, represents the longest-running census of wintering birds in Stillwater and the surrounding area. Within the 177 square mile count area, birders tallied more than 18,600 birds of at least 98 different species. We are grateful to Jim Ownby for compiling our local data!

It was a good day for birding, with moderate temperatures (at least once the sun came up!) and little wind. This year we’ve seen few “irruptive” species, birds who occasionally appear from the north, such as Red-breasted Nuthatch and Pine Siskin. Neither was tallied on the count.

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 12.20.14 PM

A Downy Woodpecker always cheers you up on a crisp December day!

The complete unofficial tally of birds follows. To learn more about any of these species, check out Audubon’s free online Guide to North American Birds.  You can find photos, range maps, recorded calls, and detailed natural history information for each of the species on our list.  For example, check out the entry for Gadwall.

  1. Cackling Goose, 37
  2. Canada Goose, 2554
  3. Wood Duck, 12
  4. Gadwall, 175
  5. American Wigeon, 36
  6. Mallard, 345
  7. Northern Shoveler, 81
  8. Northern Pintail, 6
  9. Green-winged Teal, 158
  10. Canvasback, 3
  11. Redhead, 102
  12. Ring-necked Duck, 90
  13. Lesser Scaup, 1
  14. Bufflehead, 65
  15. Common Goldeneye, 2
  16. Common Merganser, 3
  17. Hooded Merganser, 21
  18. Ruddy Duck, 2
  19. Northern Bobwhite, 6
  20. Wild Turkey, 8
  21. Pied-billed Grebe, 25
  22. Horned Grebe, 2
  23. Double-crested Cormorant, 10
  24. Great Blue Heron, 14
  25. Northern Harrier, 23
  26. Sharp-shinned Hawk, 4
  27. Cooper’s Hawk, 12
  28. Bald Eagle, 4
  29. Red-shouldered Hawk, 19
  30. Red-tailed Hawk, 87
  31. American Coot, 83
  32. Killdeer, 48
  33. Greater Yellowlegs, 6
  34. Wilson’s Snipe, 1
  35. Ring-billed Gull, 164
  36. Rock Pigeon, 310
  37. Eurasian Collared Dove, 12
  38. Mourning Dove, 380
  39. Greater Roadrunner, 2
  40. Eastern Screech-Owl, 2
  41. Great-horned Owl, 12
  42. Barred Owl, 4
  43. Belted Kingfisher, 6
  44. Red-headed Woodpecker, 2
  45. Red-bellied Woodpecker, 92
  46. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, 27
  47. Downy Woodpecker, 49
  48. Hairy Woodpecker, 11
  49. Northern Flicker, 85; (65 Yellow-shafted, 10 Red-shafted, 10 unknown)
  50. Pileated Woodpecker, 12
  51. American Kestrel, 21
  52. Merlin, 3
  53. Eastern Phoebe, 5
  54. Loggerhead Shrike, 3
  55. Blue Jay, 254
  56. American Crow, 370
  57. Carolina Chickadee, 152
  58. Tufted Titmouse, 60
  59. White-breasted Nuthatch, 16
  60. Brown Creeper, 4
  61. Carolina Wren, 73
  62. Bewick’s Wren, 4
  63. Golden-crowned Kinglet, 7
  64. Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 17
  65. Eastern Bluebird, 354
  66. Hermit Thrush, 2
  67. American Robin, 6,002
  68. Brown Thrasher, 4
  69. Northern Mockingbird, 67
  70. European Starling, 2,670
  71. Cedar Waxwing, 1,050
  72. Smith’s Longspur, 95
  73. Yellow-rumped Warbler, 154
  74. LeConte’s Sparrow, 5
  75. American Tree Sparrow, 9
  76. Chipping Sparrow, 7
  77. Field Sparrow, 71
  78. Fox Sparrow, 3
  79. Dark-eyed Junco, 514
  80. White-crowned Sparrow, 25
  81. Harris’s Sparrow, 124
  82. White-throated Sparrow, 17
  83. Savannah Sparrow, 28
  84. Song Sparrow, 134
  85. Vesper Sparrow, 1
  86. Lincoln’s Sparrow, 5
  87. Swamp Sparrow, 3
  88. Spotted Towhee, 6
  89. Eastern Towhee, 2
  90. Northern Cardinal, 167
  91. Red-winged Blackbird, 63
  92. Eastern Meadowlark, 461 (89 reported as Eastern, 372 as “Meadowlark”)
  93. Brewer’s Blackbird, 43
  94. Common Grackle, 35
  95. House Finch, 37
  96. Purple Finch, 1
  97. American Goldfinch, 159
  98. House Sparrow, 223

Birders who participated in the count were:  Kent Andersson, Cody Barnes, Talia Branham, Anne Collins, John Couch, Damona Doye, Eric Duell, Alin Gonzalez, Jennifer Grindstaff, Lelia Heading, Alex James, Helen Jordan, Caitlin Laughlin, Britton Lilly, Scott Loss, Bob McCormick, Peggy McCormick, Cindy McGill, Noah McGill, Iris McPherson, Joyce Meyer, Leslie Miller, Helena Moranz, Ray Moranz, Arpad Nyari, Tim O’Connell, Charlotte Ownby, Jim Ownby, Monica Papes, John Polo, and Elaine Stebler.


2014 Stillwater CBC Results

The 2014 Audubon Christmas Bird Count took place on Saturday, Dec. 20th. We are grateful to Jim Ownby for coordinating the CBC and providing the following results:

Members and friends of Payne County Audubon Society participated in the 115th annual National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count on December 20, 2014. The local count, held each year since 1947, represents the longest-running census of wintering birds in Stillwater and surrounding Payne County. Within the 177 square mile count area, birders tallied more than 15,000 birds of 101 different species.

It was a fine day for birding, with cool temperatures and little wind. The only true rarity was a Lewis’s Woodpecker, normally found in the Rocky Mountains, that has been seen at Lake Carl Blackwell since at least Nov. 18th. Dark-eyed Juncos, the commonest wintering sparrow in Payne County, were not as abundant as in most years.

Prairie Falcon in the Prairie Falcon in the “Lewis’s Woodpecker” tree at Lake Carl Blackwell, 20 Dec. 2014. Photo by Tim O’Connell.
Since the first count was held in 1947, a substantial part of the count area has been converted from prairie grassland to residential areas. More prairie has been lost to invasive red cedar. We now see fewer birds that winter on the prairie and in riparian areas, such as Eastern Meadowlarks, American Tree Sparrows, Bewick’s Wrens, and Northern Bobwhite. The changes in habitat have benefited species such as Red-shouldered Hawks, American Robins, and Cedar Waxwings, as well as non-native European Starlings and House Sparrows.
The complete unofficial tally of birds was:
Common Loon, 1
Pied-billed Grebe, 12
Double-crested Cormorant, 17
Great Blue Heron, 32
Cackling Goose, 62
Canada Goose, 3425
Wood Duck, 5
Gadwall, 194
American Wigeon, 42
Mallard, 661
Blue-winged Teal, 33
Northern Shoveler, 9
Northern Pintail, 8
Green-winged Teal, 32
Canvasback, 73
Redhead, 34
Ring-necked Duck, 92
Lesser Scaup, 8
Greater Scaup, 10
Common Goldeneye, 91
Bufflehead, 27
Ruddy Duck, 12
Hooded Merganser, 6
American White Pelican, 82
Turkey Vulture, 1
Bald Eagle, 2
Northern Harrier, 19
Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1
Cooper’s Hawk, 4
Red-shouldered Hawk, 32
Red-tailed Hawk, 112
Rough-legged Hawk, 1
American Kestrel, 21
Merlin, 1
Wild Turkey, 130
American Coot, 151
Killdeer, 4
Greater Yellowlegs, 1
Common (Wilson’s) Snipe, 2
Bonaparte’s Gull, 2
Ring-billed Gull, 764
Rock Pigeon, 157
Mourning Dove, 424
Eurasian Collared Dove, 11
Greater Roadrunner, 5
Great Horned Owl, 11
Short-eared Owl, 1
Barred Owl, 5
Belted Kingfisher, 11
Red-headed Woodpecker, 27
Red-bellied Woodpecker, 58
Downy Woodpecker, 42
Hairy Woodpecker, 6
Lewis’s Woodpecker, 1
Pileated Woodpecker, 4
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, 12
Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker, 19
Northern (Red-shafted) Flicker, 5
Eastern Phoebe, 1
Horned Lark, 16
Blue Jay, 412
American Crow, 287
Carolina Chickadee, 188
Tufted Titmouse, 54
White-breasted Nuthatch, 21
Brown Creeper, 4
Carolina Wren, 60
Bewick’s Wren, 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 9
Golden-crowned Kinglet, 6
Eastern Bluebird, 410
American Robin, 2352
Loggerhead Shrike, 5
Northern Mockingbird, 93
Brown Thrasher, 4
European Starling, 1856
American Pipit, 1
Cedar Waxwing, 522
Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler, 33
Spotted Towhee, 17
American Tree Sparrow, 4
Field Sparrow, 25
Savannah Sparrow, 3
Fox Sparrow, 2
Song Sparrow, 35
Lincoln’s Sparrow, 1
White-throated Sparrow, 14
White-crowned Sparrow, 45
Harris’s Sparrow, 107
Dark-eyed (Slate-colored) Junco, 466
Smith’s Longspur, 1
Northern Cardinal, 279
Red-winged Blackbird, 10
Eastern Meadowlark, 53; Meadowlark sp., 314
Brewer’s Blackbird, 232
Common Grackle, 61
Brown-headed Cowbird, 66
Pine Siskin, 1
American Goldfinch, 136
House Finch, 15
House Sparrow, 218

Birders who participated in the count were: Kent Andersson, Fidel Atuo, Laurie Clemens, Jim Cowley, Suzanne Cowley, Damona Doye, Eric Duell, Elisa Elizondo, Jennifer Grindstaff, Lelia Heading, Deb Hirt, Les Imboden, Alex James, Helen Jordan, Caitlin Laughlin, Bob McCormick, Peggy McCormick, Freddy Miller, Leslie Miller, Andrew Moranz, Helena Moranz, Ray Moranz, Arpad Nyari, Tim O’Connell, Jim Ownby, Monica Papes, John Polo, Thea Pratt, Natalia Santos, Bob Schlottmann, Elaine Stebler, Sue Taylor, and Susan Walker.

 

  1. Lisa, Fidel, and Tim take a selfie break at Lake Carl Blackwell.Lisa, Fidel, and Tim take a selfie break at Lake Carl Blackwell.