Christmas Bird Count Summary 2023

Christmas Bird Count Summary 2023

Warm weather with barely any snow and a wide open lake made for an enjoyable count, but definitely different. Teams were able to stay out longer because of the weather but there were also birds missing from the count.

Overall 11,220 individual birds counted (slightly lower than last year). There were 68 species, which is a new record number of different species counted (last year 62). 53 species were not counted but on the list.

Eight new species records (meaning this is the highest count for the species):

  • Mute Swan, 35 (last record was 10 in 2017)
  • White-winged Scoter, 8 (last record was 4 in 1993 from the records I have)
  • Red-breasted Merganser, 29 (last record was 20 in 2021)
  • Belted Kingfisher, 7 (last record was 3 in 1998/2005/2006/2013)
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker, 19 (last record was 17 in 2022)
  • Brown Creeper, 17 (last record was 9 in 2010)
  • Fox Sparrow, 2 (last record of 1 in 2012)
  • American Goldfinch, 654 (last record was 578 in 2021)

Three records matched:

  • Northern Harrier, 2
  • Merlin, 1
  • Song Sparrow, 2

Species missed that are usually counted:

  • Sharp-shinned Hawk
  • American Kestrel
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Evening Grosbeak


Team 1: ran out of time. Had a scope which helped to count water birds particularly mergansers. Feeders counts from 9.

Team 2: seems like first count with no ice. No # of gulls at dump. Many in lake Couchiching. Not congregate in the same way. Kingfishers by Ben’s ditch. Many birds beyond scope range.

Team 3: great conditions and more effort. Stand at Hawkstone dock and able to stay longer. Decided into different groups. American toad on the road!?

Team 4: first time being team lead. Team 5: needs more people. Feeder reports helped. Put out 80 flyers. Fox Sparrow.

Team 6 & 7: not available to give comments during the Zoom recap, but both had an enjoyable time!

Team 8: new record for team, 31 species. Found lower birds and not as many at feeders. Good day to be out.

Team 9: weather lovely and no frozen toes. Bass Lake area. They split up the area. Lake not frozen. Missing Wild Turkeys.

Photos: featured in Fern, our Christmas Bird Count Coordinator. Inner photo by Barb Ryckman. Sunrise photo by Fern. Thanks!

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