Christmas Bird Count 2012

By Kevin McGowan

The 2012 Ithaca Christmas Bird Count was another successful event, with 91 total species found during the day, plus two others found during the Count Week. Two new species were added to the overall list—an Orange-crowned Warbler found in the Ithaca Community Gardens and a Count Week Ross’s Goose seen flying overhead with a migrating flock of Snow Geese.

Totals of resident woodland birds were generally down after a string of record-setting counts. The high winds during the day might have been a factor. It was a generally good year for half-hearties, with records set or tied for Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Winter Wren, and Hermit Thrush. The most unusual southern species this year was Turkey Vulture with a record-shattering total of 44. The vultures were seen in seven of the nine count areas, so double counting was an issue to be dealt with. A count at the roosting site in Cayuga Heights later in the week found 40–45 vultures, which was used as a guide for the final total.

Thanks to all the participants and area compilers, and thanks to Linda Orkin and Bob McGuire for organizing the event.