110th Christmas Bird Count Produces Record-Shattering Numbers

A northern jacana, a species counted in Texas. (Photo by Len Blumin, Flickr Creative Commons)
The results are in from Audubon’s 110th Christmas Bird Count, which took place December 14, 2009 through January 5, 2010, and the numbers are breathtaking: More than 2,100 counts and 60,700 people tallied 2,319 species and 55,951,707 total birds. Yep, that’s almost 56 million birds. And believe it or not, observers spotted 200 more species than during the previous year’s CBC.
Counts took place in all 50 states in the U.S., all Canadian provinces, plus several Central and South American countries, Guam, Mariana Islands, Bermuda, Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Here’s a look at highlights from a few counts. For more details, check out the report “American Birds: The 110th Christmas Bird Count,” available here soon.
British Columbia/Yukon Territories
Five new counts—upping the number to more than 100—helped BC and Yukon Territories each increase their total species, to 225 and 35 respectively. Some of their highlights included more than 50 yellow-billed loons, eight gyrfalcons, and a lone jack snipe. 
“For the 110th CBC in Texas,” writes Brent Ortego of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department in “American Birds,” “bare-throated tiger-heron (new for the United Sates), northern jacana, red-throated loon, northern shrike, gray-crowned yellowthroat, and black-headed grosbeak were the headliners of a quality list of birds.” More than 2,600 birders in the state participated.
Central and South America
With 36 circles, Colombia has more counts than any other country outside the U.S. or Canada, according to Audubon’s CBC coordinator, Geoff LeBaron. For the 110th count, Costa Rica had six groups (with one seeing 399 species), Ecuador had five (with two tallying more than 400 species), and Brazil and Panama each had four. Three took place in Guatemala, two in Nicaragua, and one each in Chile and Trinidad. “There is an amazing and increasing variety of neotropical migrant species being tallied on Latin American CBCs,” LeBaron writes.

This year’s CBC is coming up December 14, 2010 through January 5, 2011. Visit Audubon’s CBC webpage for details about how to find or start a circle. And check out the “Audubon in Action” section of the Nov-Dec Audubon soon for some CBC extremes (did you know birders will go out in -38°?)

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