The Rathbun Lake Bird Club held it’s 36th annual Christmas Count on Dec. 15. They recorded 79 species. The club put 13 observers in the field with eight Feeder Counters. The area is a 15-mile-diameter circle centered on Walnut City.

Birds that are unusual or not expected on every count were three Common Loon, three White Pelican’s and 22 Pine SisKin. One other unusual occurrence the club found was all seven Woodpeckers - the Red-headed, Red-bellied, Yellow-bellied, Downey, Hairy, Northern Flicker and Pileated Woodpeckers. It’s hard for the club to get Sapsucker and the Pileated to show on the same day.

Other water birds found were the Snow Goose, Cackling Goose, 2,600 Canada Geese, Galdwall, Mallards, Northern Shoveler, Green-Winged Teal, RedHeads, Ring-necked, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Goldeneye, Hooded, Common and Red-breasted Merganser, Pheasant, Turkey, 9 Northern Bodwhited, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue heron, Bald Eagles, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned, Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawk.

Other birds were the American Kestrel, American Coot, Wilson’s Snipe, Ring-billed and Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Eurasion Collared and Mourning Dove. Also found were the Eastern Screech, Great Horned, and Barred Owls along with Belted Kingfisher, Northern Shrike, Blue Jays, Crows, Horned Lark, Chickadee’s, Tufted Titmice, Red and White Breasted Nuthatches, Brown Creeper, Carolina Wren, Golden-Crowned Kinglets, Eastern Bluebirds and American Robins. Also found were Starlings, Cedar Waxwings and American Tree Sparrow, Fox, Song, White-Throated and White Crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Lapland Longspur and Snow Bunting. Lastly the Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Brown-headed Cowbird, Purple Finch and the House Sparrow were seen.

Local club and guest observers were Paul Egeland, Dan Tiemeier, Joe Murphy, Pam Messersmith, Tom Brick, Bryan and Jennifer Johnson, Ray Cummins, Grant Gardner, Brant Schmell and Vicky and Mike Stephens.

The feeder counters for the day were Virginia Koestner, Becky Johnson, Jean Clark-Ayers, Cathy Tiemeier, Mary Murphy, Cheryl Piatt and Jeanine Bankson.

The Bird Club has a 70-species average over the last 20 years. The five high years were 72 species in 1992, 78 species in 1994, 72 species in 1998, 83 species in 1999 and 79 species in 2007. Our low year was in 1981 with only 51 species.

Some of our members along with observers from Boone area attended the Lamoni count this year. They do a more traditional style count. Most of it is done on foot. Some of their members cover 15-plus miles during the day. They recorded 67 species, even though there are no major lakes or rivers in the area.

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