[CT Birds] Harrier numbers this season

David Provencher davidprovencher at sbcglobal.net
Fri Dec 4 14:14:24 EST 2009

Currently there are very few Harriers in CT. That is also true of
Rough-legged Hawks, Saw-whets, Short-eared Owls, Snowy Owls, etc. This may
make for less interesting CT birding at the moment but it is far from a bad
thing for the birds. It generally means successful hunting/wintering is
going on to our north. This in turn will lead to a lower mortality rate for
these species this winter than if they had to cast further south looking for
prey. As the winter progresses, and if we ever actually see snow cover (xc
skis still leaning in readiness against my wall!) we may see an up-tick in
CT occurrences of these irruptive species. As far as I've noticed there has
been no new distinct dearth of reports of these guys across their more
northerly winter range so while steady declines are still occurring, I see
no reason to suspect a precipitous population reduction has recently
befallen any of these predators. What the mild weather does mean is the
increased chance for many half-hardies on this year's Christmas Counts.  


On a side note, a good sixed flock of Bohemian Waxwings were recently
reported from the shoulder of Mt. Jefferson in the NH Whites. That's the
first report of consequence I'm aware of this season.


Dave Provencher

Naturally New England



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