[CT Birds] GBBC preliminary wrap-up

COMINS, Patrick PCOMINS at audubon.org
Wed Feb 17 12:42:10 EST 2010

With the field portion of the Great Backyard Bird Count wrapped up (there is still time to enter data though), I thought it was a good time for a preliminary summary.   Things are still in flux though as more reports can come in and we're having to chase down a lot more reports than usual.  Including at least one intentional fake report that had every possible waterfowl reported from Weir Farm.

We stand at 138 species, down from last year's record of 141 species.  Over 1,500 checklists have been submitted, a new record.

Some have noted that there are 2 Harlequin Ducks reported, when we all know this represents only one bird.  The analysis of the GBBC is broken out by the number of checklists that submit birds, so in the case of the Harlequin, there are two checklists from the same location and it would get counted as one bird.  When both checklists are on the same day, we generally remove one of them (or all but one if there are multiples), but in this case there were two checklists on different days, so the data will indicate that the bird was present for multiple days.

20 (!) Common Eiders (with report of another 23 for which we never get any additional details), the aforementioned Harlequin Duck, Eared Grebe, 5 Osprey, 2 reports of Golden Eagles, which could have represented the same bird moving up and down the river, Willet, 2 Wilson's Snipe, 8 American Woodcock, Iceland and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Long-eared Owls and Northern Saw-Whet Owl, 2 Red-headed Woodpeckers with 2 more pending, a Northern Shrike, an Orange-crowned Warbler in Stratford, 2 Vesper Sparrows, Eastern Meadowlark and Baltimore Oriole.

Pine Siskins were way down from last year's record count of 5,920 with 54 reported on 12 checklists.  We were trying to verify all Pine Siskin reports this year, much to the annoyance of some observers.  We have had a few Common Redpoll reports, but so far only one has provided enough details and we tend to be conservative with redpolls in non irruption years.  There is still time to relocated/photograph the King Eiders that were reported in Mystic.  Additional species that were reported, but for which insufficient or no details were received include: Redhead, Common Yellowthroat, Snowy Owl, Short-eared Owl, Yellow-breasted Chat, Evening and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Pine Warblers, Eastern Phoebes and Lapland Longspur. There was even a report with a good description of a Loggerhead Shrike, but the bird wasn't relocated.

We still have some lose ends to wrap up like looking over the list and trying to figure out what species may have been over-reported.  Purple Finches, White-crowned Sparrows and Winter Wrens are three species that we will likely have to chase down report by report, as they are traditionally over-reported and often turn out to be House Finches, White-throated Sparrows and Carolina Wrens.    There are at least two species that were reported over the weekend that were not submitted, Glaucous Gull and Snow Goose...there's still time to submit your reports.

For a complete summary of the data please see:

Thank you to all who helped to make this year's GBBC great.


Patrick Comins,  Brian O'toole and Ken Elkins, Audubon Connecticut

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