PDT Staff Writer
Portsmouth Area Audubon Christmas Bird Count, a tradition since 1925, was completed Dec. 21, 2013. Dave Riepenhoff, of Trampled Acres Farm, said this year’s Christmas Bird Count was productive as each of the other past bird counts.
“We have observed 141 bird species since the count began in 1925. Twnety species were only observed one time, 11 species were observed every year. Fifteen participants assisted with the Portsmouth Area Audubon Christmas Bird Count.They logged 34 hours while driving 155 miles and walking 17.5 miles to find 57 bird species and 2774 birds,” Riepenhoff said.
Riepenhoff said the total bird species was lower than average of the last 10 years.
“The total bird species was much lower than the last 10-year average of 69 species due to the heavy on and off rain that fell. Just one week prior to the count the Scioto River bottoms contained standing water supporting a large number of ducks. On Dec. 21, count day, the water was gone and so were the ducks. They were limited to the rivers and some small ponds so few ducks were observed,” Riepenhoff said.
The following bird species and numbers were observed: Great Blue Heron (13), Canada Goose (233), American Black Duck (1), Mallard (56), Lesser Scaup (5), Hooded Merganser (8), Bald Eagle (12), Northern Harrier (4), Cooper’s Hawk (3), Red-shouldered Hawk (3), Red-tailed Hawk (14), Rough-legged Hawk (1), American Kestrel (5), Ruffed Grouse (1), Northern Bobwhite (4), American Coot (2), Rock Pigeon (115), Mourning Dove (286), Barred Owl (2), Belted Kingfisher (8), Red-headed Woodpecker (1), Red-bellied Woodpecker (17), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (1), Downy Woodpecker (23), Hairy Woodpecker (2), Northern Flicker (10), Pileated Woodpecker (15), Eastern Phoebe (1), Blue Jay (73), American Crow (175), Horned Lark (10), Carolina Chickadee (62), Tufted Titmouse (56), White-breasted Nuthatch (29), Brown Creeper (1), Carolina Wren (68), Golden-crowned Kinglet (18), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (3), Eastern Bluebird (25), American Robin (104), Catbird (2), Northern Mockingbird (13), Brown Thrasher (1), European Starling (807), Yellow-rumped Warbler (1), Red-winged Blackbird (40), Common Grackle (12), Northern Cardinal (95), House Finch (51), Pine Siskin (6), American Goldfinch (48), Eastern Towhee (3), Dark-eyed Junco (111), Field Sparrow (5), White-crowned Sparrow (20), White-throated Sparrow (65), Song Sparrow (24) and English (House) Sparrow (39).
Also observed during the count week were Pied-billed Grebe, Tundra Swan, Mute Swan, Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, American Widgeon, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck and Ring-billed Gulls. These bird species can be reported in the results with a CW notation but the numbers observed are not recorded.
According to Riepenhoff, only seven of the 11 areas were covered with portions of Shawnee Forest not surveyed. All of the seven areas contributed a bird species not observed in the any other area.
The 10 year average is 69 bird species and 7371 individual birds.
Participants in the count were: Bob Berry, Pam Clark, Linda Donaldson, Phyllis Fried, C’Dora Gulick, Ed, Gulick, Ben Hamilton, Jenny Richards, Dave Riepenhoff (compiler), Henry Sloan, Noah Sparks, Jack Stockham, Dave Todt, John Walker and Merrill Wood.
Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Portia on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.