It was just a year ago when the Christmas Bird Count within the Fargo-Moorhead circle had never gotten more than 48 birds, in other words never topped the half-century mark. Turns out we blew it out of the water last year by tallying 59 species.
This year seemed different. No snow on the ground and extremely mild temperatures might seem ideal for the birds but it’s not around here. Leading up to yesterday’s count there was a noticeable paucity in the number of birds around. Local theory suggests that cold and snow concentrates birds more at feeders and cover areas. I would tend to agree.
Also different this year was the fact I took over as official compiler for the count circle. Which means the job of herding all these bobcats into a coherent direction fell upon me. That turned out to be okay.
The results are in and we ended up scoring 54 species for the day, another astounding number for our middle-of-the-continent location I think. My take is that the Moorhead lagoons carried us on their backs with 10 different waterfowl species recorded there due to the open water. Amazing.
There were some obvious misses (as there always are) such as red-breasted nuthatch, mourning dove, and both redpolls. I should almost include snowy owl in that list since there is such an irruption nationwide this winter but that’s a hit-or-miss proposition given only the 8-hour window of daylight.
Enjoy a couple of my recent photos…an American kestrel (smallest falcon in the country) from yesterday’s count and a snowy owl from a couple weeks ago.