1.6% by my math

Posted May 27th, 2010 by kcorliss. Comment (0).

The spring gathering of the North Dakota Birding Society took place last weekend in Devil’s Lake. I had not planned on attending but a meeting of the state bird records committee was called so I felt obligated and spent Friday evening up there. Saturday morning I stuck around for a couple hours and viewed what was previously reported as “hundreds of ruddy turnstones.”

These long-distance migrating shorebirds were scattered along the shore (rocks) right along a road for about a half mile on both sides. I didn’t bother counting them but took this photo of a small group before heading home:

The rest of the birders showed up there later and spent some time counting and estimating the number of turnstones. They came up with 4,300, quite a large group for North Dakota. And the most recent (1999) data I could find puts the entire North American flock at 267,000 birds. That makes this most recent Devil’s Lake gathering at 1.6 percent of the them. Pretty impressive for a mid-continent location I would think.

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