Winhall Christmas Bird Count Reveals an Invasion of Turkeys
Do you have too many wild turkeys in your yard? One feeder watcher in Peru reported 42 of them on December 15, the day of the 52nd continuous Christmas Bird Count (CBC) in the Winhall area. The report contributed to a record turkey count of 170, but there certainly were many more that did not show up that Saturday.
Last year there were a record number of dark-eyed juncos (527), a sharp contrast to a mere ten this year. This year, black-capped chickadees were once again active, with 492 counted. For the Winhall CBC, 12 intrepid field volunteers traveled 208 miles and 16 feeder watchers counted a total of 28 species of birds represented by a total of 1057 individuals. The most unusual visitor was a brown thrasher, a more southern species uncommon in Vermont in the summer, let alone in the winter. Interestingly, a brown thrasher was reported once before in 2004. Evening grosbreaks have also been reported more frequently this season. A flock of 40 was seen perched in some trees. To view a fun interview about the CBC results with Ruth Stewart, coordinator of the Winhall count, with GNAT-TV’s Hoss Wuerslin, readers can go to gnat-tv.org.
Christmas Bird Counts began in 1900, the longest running bird census in the world. It now includes over 2000 count circles in North, Central and South America. There are 22 count circles in Vermont. The counts are coordinated by the National Audubon Society. Mark your calendars for the next opportunity to contribute to data on bird populations, the Great Backyard Bird Count, February 15 to 18.