Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

Recapping the 119th Annual Central Park Audubon Christmas Bird Count

On Sunday, December 16, intrepid birders braved heavy winds and pouring rain to participate in the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count for the New Jersey-Lower Hudson (NJLH) count circle. The NJLH count circle is centered in the Hudson River, and its 15-mile radius includes Manhattan, Bergen and Hudson counties in New Jersey, and a portion of Queens.

 

Barred Owl in Central Park, November 4, 2018 © Ellen Michaels

The Barred Owl, photographed here in Central Park on November 4, 2018, was one of three owl species counted at the 2018 Central Park Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Photo © Ellen Michaels

New York City Audubon organized the 119th annual Central Park Audubon Christmas Bird Count, along with our partners NYC Parks, the Urban Park Rangers, and the Central Park Conservancy. Undaunted by the weather, 59 participants joined us in the park for this annual community science project, which welcomes birders of all skill levels. Through foggy binoculars, they recorded 5,323 birds of 57 species. Most notable were the three species of owl—Northern Saw-whet, Great Horned, and Barred—all found within fifty yards of each other. The rain also kept the hawks grounded, making it easier to ensure that we did not double-count them.

 

The much-publicized Mandarin Duck remained in the southeast sector of the park, but as an escaped captive bird, it was not included in the count totals. Only wild birds are counted during Audubon Christmas Bird Counts. Introduced species, such as the House Sparrow, only start to get counted after they have established wild populations. Despite not “counting,” the beautiful Mandarin Duck of Central Park was still a pleasure to see.

Mandarin Duck in Central Park © Ellen Michaels

The Mandarin Duck of Central Park, while beautiful to see, was not eligible to be "counted" at this year's Christmas Bird Count because it is not a wild bird. Photo © Ellen Michaels

 

 

Several species often seen at the Central Park count were absent on Sunday but did show up at the park during count week (the three days before and after the count). These birds included Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Purple Finch, House Finch, Ovenbird, and Field Sparrow.

 

In addition to Central Park, NJLH circle counts were held Sunday at Randall’s Island, Riverside Park, Stuyvesant Town, Inwood Hill Park, John V. Lindsay East River Park, Corlear’s Hook Park, Bryant Park, Tompkins Square Park, Lower Manhattan, and throughout Hudson and Bergen counties. And for the first time ever a Christmas Bird Count was held at Governors Island! The final results for the NJLH count circle will be available on our Audubon Christmas Bird Count Page once all the count tallies have been submitted to us.

 

A huge thank you to all those who participated in NYC Counts this year, especially those who led and organized counts.

 

Central Park 119th Audubon Christmas Bird Count Tally:

 

Species

Number of Birds

Canada Goose

366

Wood Duck

7

American Black Duck

1

Mallard

289

Northern Shoveler

84

Bufflehead

20

Hooded Merganser

10

Ruddy Duck

142

Pied-billed Grebe

1

Double-crested Cormorant

2

Great Blue Heron

3

Cooper’s Hawk

5

Red-shouldered Hawk*

2

Red-tailed Hawk

13

Merlin*

1

Peregrine Falcon

1

American Coot

9

Ring-billed Gull

89

Herring Gull

104

Great Black-backed Gull

4

Rock Pigeon

635

Mourning Dove

67

Great Horned Owl*

1

Barred Owl*

1

Northern Saw-whet Owl

2

Red-bellied Woodpecker

44

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

5

Downy Woodpecker

6

Northern Flicker

3

Blue Jay

265

American Crow

10

Common Raven

2

Black-capped Chickadee

9

Tufted Titmouse

247

Red-breasted Nuthatch

2

White-breasted Nuthatch

50

Brown Creeper

2

Carolina Wren

1

Winter Wren

2

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

1

Hermit Thrush

11

American Robin

180

Gray Catbird

2

Northern Mockingbird

5

European Starling

167

Cedar Waxwing

2

Chipping Sparrow*

1

Fox Sparrow

5

Dark-eyed Junco

33

White-throated Sparrow

1017

Song Sparrow

12

Swamp Sparrow

1

Eastern Towhee

5

Northern Cardinal

59

Common Grackle

861

American Goldfinch

17

House Sparrow

437