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From our December issue: 44 species tallied in Minnesota’s northernmost count circles

Golden-crowned Kinglet by docdpp.
Golden-crowned Kinglet by docdpp.

Christmas Bird Counts were top of mind for two writers in our December 2015 issue, which will go on sale at Barnes & Noble on November 3.

BirdWatching Magazine, December 2015, Northern Hawk Owl by Alan Murphy, Great Spotted Woodpecker (inset) by Dick Coombes.
BirdWatching Magazine, December 2015, Northern Hawk Owl by Alan Murphy, Great Spotted Woodpecker (inset) by Dick Coombes.

Regular columnist Pete Dunne, New Jersey Audubon’s birding ambassador at large and a veteran of many winter counts, describes tried-and-true tactics you can use to increase the number of species you see on your next CBC.

And Sheryl DeVore, chief editor of Meadowlark, the quarterly journal of the Illinois Ornithological Society, and the author of our cover story, describes how she spent the first days of 2015 in far northern Minnesota, near the “Icebox of the Nation,” participating in not one but three Christmas Bird Counts.

Read about Christmas Bird Counts in Minnesota.

Temperatures barely rose above zero while Sheryl counted, but that didn’t prevent her and other hardy counters from equaling the third highest species count in one circle, breaking the record in another, and finding a species that had never been recorded on a count — Golden-crowned Kinglet.

Forty-four species were counted in all. Here’s the list:

Ruffed Grouse
Sharp-tailed Grouse
Bald Eagle
Northern Goshawk
Rough-legged Hawk
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Snowy Owl
Northern Hawk Owl
Barred Owl
Great Gray Owl
owl sp.
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
American Three-toed Woodpecker
Black-backed Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Northern Shrike
Gray Jay
Blue Jay
Black-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Horned Lark
Black-capped Chickadee
Boreal Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Golden-crowned Kinglet
European Starling
Bohemian Waxwing
Lapland Longspur
Snow Bunting
Dark-eyed Junco
Pine Grosbeak
Red Crossbill
White-winged Crossbill
Common Redpoll
Hoary Redpoll
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
Evening Grosbeak
House Sparrow

Sheryl took part in the Beltrami Island, Baudette, and Roseau Christmas Bird Counts in January 2015.

Join a count

Last winter, birders conducted almost 2,500 Christmas Bird Counts in all 50 states, all Canadian provinces, and several Central and South American countries, and on several Pacific and Caribbean islands. This winter’s count, the 116th, will take place between December 14, 2015, and January 5, 2016.

A count is sure to occur near you. Visit the Audubon website to view a map of local circles, read a history of the Christmas Bird Count, see a summary of the 115th count, and join the fun.

Read about winter birding at Sax-Zim Bog, in Meadowlands, Minnesota.

Find birding hotspots in Minnesota.

 

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