The National Audubon Society began the annual Christmas bird count in 1900. I wasn’t there for that one, but I participated in the Appanoose count on Dec. 14. It was overcast and chilly and a lot of birds were at their nests drinking coffee and keeping warm. We weren’t.
There wasn’t a lot of waterfowl on the lake or reservoirs, maybe because the weather wasn’t cold enough to drive them further south to us. The eagles were definitely out as our final count was 132. A golden eagle was spotted and documented as it’s a rare find.
Other good finds were two pileated woodpeckers, four rusty blackbirds and 401 robins.
The national count shows a change in migration, differences in species populations, and tracks their movements. We only found 11 red-headed woodpeckers, eight ring-necked pheasants, seven turkeys, and no bobwhites. There were seven buffleheads (waterfowl). Not only are they cute little floaters, but their name is a hoot. And speaking of big-headed waterfowl, there were 9 hooded mergansers along with their cousins-998 common mergansers.
Least you thought a sparrow is only a sparrow: we counted 112 tree sparrows, 207 dark-eyed juncos, two white-crowned sparrows, 17 white-throated sparrows, and 252 house sparrows. Not only didn’t I see all these, but I can’t tell you the differences without my Sibley’s bird app.
The bird club has several meetings and counts throughout the year if you are interested. Contact any of the volunteers who braved the cold on our December count. They were Tom and Becky Johnson, Breck Johnson, Brent Jackson, Ray Cummins, Larry Piatt, Paul and Deb Egland, Marcia Thomas, Mike and Vicky Stevens, Jean Clarke-Ayers, Steve and Marie Mehis, and Hannah Wiltamuth. Manning the bird feeder counts were Tiffany Johnson, Steve Ayers, Clieryl Piatt, and Smokey the Cat.