Bird Count yields diverse results

12 years ago

    PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Birders took to the roads, woods and snow-dusted fields in “less than ideal” weather conditions for Aroostook County’s 2011 National Audubon Christmas Bird Counts, held in Caribou on Dec. 28 and in the Presque Isle area on Dec. 31. Rain and freezing rain influenced numbers seen on both counts, yet a diverse representation of birds could still be found, according to count coordinator and Aroostook Birders Club President Bill Sheehan.

    The Presque Isle area count which included sectors in Presque Isle, Mapleton, Chapman, Fort Fairfield and Easton saw 2,256 birds recorded from 37 different species throughout the day. Temperatures spanned the high 30s to below freezing and fields were open and relatively free of snow. Sheehan noted the challenging weather for those out in the field with precipitation that ranged from snow to freezing rain to rain and road conditions that became “quite treacherous” by late morning.

    “Numbers were perceived as down, but species diversity was above the long-term and ten-year averages,” said Sheehan. Highlights of the Presque Isle count were record high numbers of 27 Bald Eagles and seven Northern Cardinals. Also tallied was the second highest count of two Rough-legged Hawks, a species not regularly encountered in the past. A count first Saw-whet Owl was found near the Aroostook River. According to Sheehan, other notables were a Northern Harrier, a Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jays, Bohemian Waxwings, a Horned Lark, an American Robin, Purple Finches, Evening Grosbeaks and the absence of any White-breasted Nuthatches on this year’s count.

    A record 34 participants took part, includeing: Bill Sheehan, Russell Mount, Cyndi Kimball, Neale Adams, Don Belyea, Sean Bernard, Alice Sheppard, Gary Boone, Andrea Dyer, Mike Fahay, Carl and Denise Gagnon, Diane and Jim Gramlich, David and Roberta Griffiths, Dean and Kathy Hunter, Jason Johnston, Alice Keiser, Ron Kenneson, Bob and Sue Pinette, Tom Rochford, Judy Roe, Nancy Roe, Earl and Gail Roy, Tim Scott, Polly Tateishi, Lee and Marianne Thomas, Scott Thompson and Frank Wezner.

    For a detailed listing of all birds recorded or more information about Aroostook Birders bird watching club, e-mail or contact Sue Pinette at 764-1801.