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Categorized | Outdoors

Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche

By Steve Mueller

Kent County Christmas Bird Count 2009

The Grand Rapids Audubon Club sponsored the local Christmas Bird Count on January 2, 2010.

Fifty-five participants observed 60 species of birds on count day, with one additional Great Horned Owl sighted during count week. Total individuals on count day were 8,608. Two unexpected and rewarding sightings were Red Crossbills and Winter Wrens. An unusual find was a lone Common Redpoll. Where there is one, many are the rule. Red-shouldered Hawks are again wintering in the area. This is becoming more common. A Red-headed Woodpecker was seen again this year. They are less frequently seen globally during any time of the year and are always a treasure to find.

The 48 participants observed in 17 morning parties and 13 afternoon parties starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m. Seven bird feeder observers participated. We totaled 92 hours with cars traveling 790 miles. On foot we spent 14.5 hours covering 17.5 miles.  Additionally 8 hours was feeder-watching. A special addition enjoyed was a 5.25 hour and 5.75 mile kayak effort by Caleb Putnam and Alison Vilag on the Thornapple and Grand Rivers. It has been about a decade since we had water observers. A total of 813.25 miles account for driving, walking, and kayaking combined. The total birding hours was 111.75, not including 2.5 hours owling before dawn for 24.5 miles.

Mark your calendars now for the January 1, 2011 count!

The GR Audubon club web is: http://www.glsga.org/grac.htm.

Christmas bird count list

Contact Ranger Steve with inquiries and suggestions for Nature Niche Topics at odybrook@chartermi.net or 616-696-1753.

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