The 123rd Christmas Bird Count in Florida

During the 123rd season, a record 83 Christmas Bird Counts were conducted in Florida. The Big Cypress and Dry Tortugas N.P. counts were not run, while new CBCs were established at Dinner Island RanchEast Okaloacoochee Slough and The VillagesLake Panasoffkee. Florida’s 83 CBCs accounted for 10,031 accepted observations—the first time that the 10,000-record threshold had been surpassed—of 339 taxonomic forms and 1,701,657 individuals. The taxonomic forms comprised 277 native species or natural vagrants, the reintroduced Whooping Crane, all 14 “countable” exotics (a few years ago, we delisted White-winged Parakeet due to their tiny populations remaining), 19 “non-countable” exotics, two hybrids (Mallard × Mottled Duck and Ring-necked Duck × scaup species), one intergrade (“Wurdemann’s Heron”), one color morph (“Great White Heron”), and 22 forms not identified to species (e.g., Greater Scaup/Lesser Scaup, hummingbird species). Two additional native species, Yellow-headed Blackbird at Kissimmee Valley and Shiny Cowbird at Sarasota were found exclusively during count-week.


Accepted species totals ranged from 47 at Long KeyLignumvitae to 174 at Gainesville (an inland count!). Ten other CBCs exceeded 149 “countable” species: Alafia Banks and North Pinellas (162 each), Sarasota (160), Bradenton, St. Marks, and West Pasco (158 each), South Brevard County and St. Petersburg (156 each), Jacksonville (155), and West Palm Beach (153). The total number of individuals varied from 807 at Orange River to 258,266 at Cocoa. Four CBCs, including two inland (*), tallied more than 50,000 individuals: Cocoa (258,266, with 200,000 Lesser Scaup), *Gainesville (91,468), *Melrose (112,541, including 100,000 American Robins), and South Brevard (51,286).


This summary follows a later taxonomy than that still used by Audubon for the CBC. Rare species and extremely high numbers are excluded from this summary if details were insufficient or lacking. Bold-faced totals denote high counts since the 102nd CBC season, when BP became Florida CBC Editor.


Ten species were tallied on all 83 counts: Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Turkey Vulture, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, American Kestrel, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Gray Catbird, Palm Warbler, and Northern Cardinal. Six species exceeded 50,000 individuals statewide: Lesser Scaup (256,695), American Robin (228,897), Tree Swallow (83,996), White Ibis (74,791), Laughing Gull (79,425), and Fish Crow (55,694). In contrast, 19 native species or natural vagrants were each documented by a single individual (excluding count-week birds): Common Eider and Great Shearwater (Daytona Beach), Long-tailed Duck (Cedar Key), American Golden-Plover (St. Marks), Purple Sandpiper (Cocoa), Franklin’s Gull (St. Petersburg), Iceland Gull (Sarasota), Smooth-billed Ani and Dickcissel (Long Pine Key), Vaux’s Swift, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Tennessee Warbler, and Western Tanager (Gainesville), Black-chinned Hummingbird (Tallahassee), Buff-bellied Hummingbird (Bay County), Wood Thrush (North Pinellas), Sprague’s Pipit (Apalachicola BaySt. Vincent N.W.R.), Western Spindalis (Key West), and LeConte’s Sparrow (AripekaBayport).


Weather affected several counts negatively this season. Most severely, Hurricane Ian made landfall along the southwest coast on 28 September 2022. A Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 150 mph, a storm surge of 10–20 feet, and rainfall amounts of up to 20 inches, Ian devastated coastal areas from Fort Myers Beach to Naples, killed 149 Florida residents and visitors, and destroyed infrastructure on a massive scale—including parts of the causeway to Sanibel Island. Consequently, many CBCs in the region, especially Estero Bay, Fort Myers, and Sanibel–Captiva, where access was limited to island residents, had significantly reduced species numbers and totals. At Kendall Area, cold, gray, and windy conditions suppressed many landbird numbers, resulting in the lowest species count in more than ten years—this count usually provides mind-boggling totals for New World warblers and other southern-wintering passerines. Statewide, it was a poor winter for irruptive species, with no CBC reports of Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, or Pine Siskin.


The 13,325 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks represent reduced totals from the past two count seasons (17,427 and 16,734 during the 121st and 122nd seasons, respectively) but the number of CBCs reporting them tied this past season’s record of 48. Totals included 3700 at Gainesville, 1200 at Sarasota, 880 at VeniceEnglewood, 800 at Bradenton, 660 at Fort Pierce, and 650 at Stuart. Fulvous Whistling-Ducks numbered 391 individuals on four CBCs, with 210 at STA5Clewiston and 45 at Zellwood-Mount Dora. The Greater White-fronted Goose of unknown provenance was again found at Key West; it has been present since 2018. All eight Snow Geese on five counts, including four at Gainesville, were in the north. Canada Geese, largely or entirely of feral stock, totaled 1224 on 20 counts, with 450 at Tallahassee and 400 at Jacksonville being the only triple-digit counts. Exotic swans at Lakeland equaled 20 Mute Swans, 20 Black Swans, and one Black-necked Swan. Other Mute Swans were at Alafia Banks (3), Kendall (6), and St. Petersburg (2). Egyptian Geese totaled 788 individuals on 10 counts, including 325 at Kendall Area, 140 at Fort Lauderdale, 120 at Dade County, 91 at Stuart, and 80 at West Palm Beach. Muscovy Ducks numbered 5090 individuals on 55 counts, with 700 at Kendall Area, 475 at Tampa, 365 at Naples, 350 at Dade County, 340 at Fort Lauderdale, and 325 at Gainesville. Six American Black Ducks were at St. Marks, with another at Gainesvile.


We always stress the need to examine Mallards and Mottled Ducks carefully to determine how many of these may be hybrids/backcrosses or cannot be identified to species (“Muddled Ducks”). The identification of these ducks is so hopelessly confused and doubtfully trustworthy that we now add all Mallards, Mottled Ducks, hybrids/backcrosses, and unknowns together, which this season tallied 8182 individuals. Urban CBCs in central and southern Florida that report dozens or hundreds of Mottled Ducks and few or no backcrosses or unknowns are likely providing erroneous data. An apparent Ring-necked Duck × scaup hybrid was photographed at West Palm Beach. Lesser Scaup numbered 256,695 individuals, with 200,000 at Cocoa and 30,000 at South Brevard County. One Common Eider at Daytona Beach and one Long-tailed Duck at Cedar Key represented the rarest waterfowl this season. All three scoters were found: 13 Surf Scoters on five counts, single White-winged Scoters at Cedar Key and Cocoa, and 208 Black Scoters on 16 counts. There were 4039 Buffleheads on 34 CBCs, among these 1425 at Cedar Key and 565 at St. Marks. Twenty-four Common Goldeneyes were at Port St. Joe, four were at Panacea, three were at Apalachicola BaySt. Vincent N.W.R., and one was south to West Pasco. Hooded Mergansers tallied 3609 individuals on 58 counts, with the highest totals at St. Marks (585), Jacksonville (285), and Sarasota (220). Red-breasted Mergansers totaled 3336 individuals on 45 counts, among these 770 at Sarasota, 480 at Fort De Soto, 290 at St. Petersburg, 285 at Bay County, and 240 at West Pasco.


Northern Bobwhites totaled 214 individuals on 23 counts, with 61 at Kissimmee PrairieDeLuca, 25 at Avon Park A.F. Range, and 24 at Lake Placid. Wild Turkeys numbered 1585 individuals on 52 counts, with 200 at Melrose, 82 at Ichetucknee–Santa Fe–O’Leno, 79 at Econlockhatchee, and 71 at Avon Park A.F. Range. Exotic fowl totals were four Helmeted Guineafowl at Dade County and two others at Brooksville; 308 Indian Peafowl on 13 counts (among these 126 at Kendall Area, 40 at Fort Lauderdale, 36 at North Pinellas, 27 at St. Peterburg, 22 at Key LargoPlantation Key, and 21 at AripekaBayport); and 105 Red Junglefowl on four counts (including 83 at Key West and 14 at Lower KeysKey Deer N.W.R.). The long-staying American Flamingo at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge was tallied on its fifth St. Marks CBC, with another wild individual at Coot BayEverglades N.P. The feral flamingo flock at Hialeah Race Track (on the Dade County CBC) numbered 132 individuals. Rock Pigeons totaled 8543 individuals on 63 counts, with 760 at Sarasota, 630 at Dade County, 510 at Cocoa, and 500 at West Palm Beach. White-crowned Pigeons numbered 99 individuals on eight counts, with 30 at Long KeyLignumvitae, 24 at Crocodile Lake N.W.R., 17 at Kendall Area, and 13 at Long Pine Key. Eurasian Collared-Doves numbered 3495 individuals on 71 counts, representing their second-lowest total since BP became State Editor in 2002.


Seven Lesser Nighthawks were tallied: four at Homestead and three at Long Pine Key. Three vocal Common Nighthawks foraged around shopping center lighting at Bay Lake. Of the 37 Eastern Whip-poor-wills on 14 counts, 10 at South Brevard County was the only double-digit total. Three Chuck-will’s-widows were at West Palm Beach, with others at Homestead (2) and Crocodile Lake N.W.R. (1). For the seventh consecutive year, Vaux’s Swifts wintered at Gainesville, with just a single bird this winter. Florida’s 364 hummingbirds comprised 334 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (with 90 at Kendall Area, 58 at Homestead, 30 at West Palm Beach, and 20 at Fort Lauderdale), one Black-chinned Hummingbird at Tallahassee, four Rufous Hummingbirds (singles at Gainesville, Kendall Area, Pensacola, and Tallahassee), single Calliope Hummingbirds at Choctawhatchee Bay and Tallahassee, one Broad-billed Hummingbird at Gainesville, a Buff-bellied Hummingbird at Bay County (with another count-week at Apalachicola BaySt. Vincent N.W.R.), and 21 hummingbirds not identified to species. Of Florida’s 421 Clapper Rails, 196 on seven counts were along the Atlantic coast and 225 on 21 counts were along the Gulf coast. Purple Gallinules numbered 315 on 31 counts, with 54 at Lakeland, 45 at Emeralda–Sunnyhill, and 42 at Kissimmee Valley. High counts of the state’s 86 Purple Swamphens on nine counts were 43 at West Palm Beach and 12 at Sarasota; Lakeland recorded its first. No Black Rails were reported. Limpkin numbers have dropped the past four seasons, with 1383 found on 55 CBCs, among these 300 at Gainesville, 140 at Sarasota, 89 at Kissimmee Valley, and 85 at West Palm Beach. Florida’s 13,506 Sandhill Cranes were found on 59 counts, with 6700 at Gainesville, 825 at Clermont, and 700 at Lake Placid. A single Whooping Crane—a long-surviving member of an unsuccessful reintroduction program that ended in 2008—was found at Gainesville.


There were 164 Black-necked Stilts on five counts, with 100 at Myakka River S.P. and 46 at Alafia Banks. American Avocets numbered 1153 on 11 counts, including 825 at Cedar Key and 175 at Alafia Banks. American Oystercatchers totaled 2382 individuals on 20 counts, with 2000 at Cedar Key; the next-highest total was 90 at Panacea. Quite rare in Florida during winter, an American Golden-Plover wintered at St. Marks and was tallied on the CBC. Snowy Plovers numbered 125 on 11 counts, all along the Gulf coast, with 33 at Bay County, 25 at Apalachicola Bay–St. Vincent N.W.R., 14 at Estero Bay, 11 each at Choctawhatchee Bay and Fort De Soto, and 10 at Port St. Joe. Piping Plovers were reported in greater numbers and were found along both coasts: 165 individuals on 12 counts, among these 43 at Fort De Soto, 32 at Panacea, 29 at North Pinellas, 20 at Jacksonville, and 12 at Dade County. Ninety-one Whimbrels were found on eight counts, including 66 at Cedar Key and eight each at Matanzas and Ten Thousand Islands. Two Long-billed Curlews enlivened Cedar Key, with singles elsewhere at Alafia Banks and Panacea. Marbled Godwits totaled 306 individuals on 11 counts, among these 125 at Cedar Key, 93 at Panacea, and 39 at St. Petersburg. Red Knots numbered 1878 individuals on 23 counts, with 389 at Cedar Key, 171 at North Pinellas, 169 at Estero Bay, 102 at Panacea, and 101 at Apalachicola Bay–St. Vincent N.W.R. The sole Purple Sandpiper was at Cocoa. Twenty-one American Woodcocks were found: four at South Brevard County, trios each at Lake Placid and Tallahassee, and one or two at each of nine other counts.


Daytona Beach tallied one Pomarine Jaeger and 19 Parasitic Jaegers; another Parasitic was at Sarasota. Black-legged Kittiwakes graced Dade County and South Brevard County. High counts of the state’s 2104 Bonaparte’s Gulls on 53 counts were 350 at Choctawhatchee Bay, 211 at Bay County, 165 at Gainesville, 107 at Kissimmee Valley, and 100 at North Pinellas. A Franklin’s Gull was photographed at St. Petersburg, and an Iceland Gull was photographed at Sarasota. Many Great Black-backed Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls have been reported in extreme southern Florida during recent seasons, and these rarely elicit compiler comments; we now require documentation for these species if more than a few individuals are reported in the region, since Laughing Gulls are also dark-backed. High counts for both black-backed gulls this season dubiously came from the extreme southern part of the state. Another identification concern during winter and a species for which documentation is required statewide, Common Terns were photographed or well-described on four counts: three at Alafia Banks, two at Fort De Soto, and singles at St. Petersburg and Sarasota—all in the Tampa Bay region. Common Terns were deleted from two other CBCs where the compilers provided no details. There were 3246 Forster’s Terns on 57 counts, among these 530 at Coot Bay–Everglades N.P., 330 at North Pinellas, 325 at Cedar Key, and 250 at Jacksonville. Black Skimmers numbered 8019 individuals on 30 counts, including 1700 at Jacksonville, 1200 at Estero Bay, 680 at Fort De Soto, 580 at Cedar Key, and 550 at North Pinellas.


Two Red-throated Loons were adequately detailed at Dade County (!), with singles elsewhere at Jacksonville and St. Marks. Common Loons numbered 990 on 37 counts, with 139 at Bay County, 132 at Choctawhatchee Bay, and 125 at Fort De Soto. A Great Shearwater was at Daytona Beach. There were 483 Magnificent Frigatebirds on 23 counts, with 127 at Ten Thousand Islands, 99 at Sanibel–Captiva, and 53 at Key West. Two Brown Boobies were at Biscayne N.P. with four others at Tampa. Most of the 508 Northern Gannets reported on 20 counts were found at Daytona Beach, with 375 individuals. Good details were provided for a Great Cormorant at Panacea. No Neotropic Cormorants were reported. Double-crested Cormorants were found on every CBC except Babcock Ranch Preserve and Lakeland; the latter certainly is an omission; statewide totals were 36,306 individuals and the high count was 3300 at Coot Bay–Everglades N.P. There were 12,223 American White Pelicans on 46 counts (with 2000 at Ten Thousand Islands, 1400 at Bradenton, and 1000 at Fort De Soto) and 14,459 Brown Pelicans on 54 (including 1300 at Coot Bay–Everglades N.P., 950 at St. Petersburg, 850 at St. Augustine, and 84 inland at Lakeland). Wood Storks totaled 4191 individuals on 70 counts, among these 300 each at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and Fakahatchee, 285 at Bradenton, and 150 at Avon Park A.F. Range. “Wading birds” numbered 144,275 individuals, including 472 “Great White Herons” (415 of these at Coot Bay–Everglades N.P.), three “Wurdemann’s Herons” (two at Coot Bay–Everglades N.P. and one other at Key West), 162 Reddish Egrets on 30 counts (among these 25 at Fort Myers, 19 North Pinellas, and 16 at South Brevard County), 74,791 White Ibises on 80 counts (with 5200 at Lakeland, 3700 at Myakka River S.P., 3500 at Stuart, 2800 at Kendall Area, 2600 each at Dade County, Gainesville, and Merritt Island N.W.R., and 2500 at West Palm Beach), and 14,751 Glossy Ibises (among these 3365 at Ten Thousand Islands, 2000 at Stuart, and 830 at Sarasota). Eight White-faced Ibises were at St. Marks, with four others at Gainesville, and one at Lake City. The state’s 1294 Roseate Spoonbills were found on 56 counts, among these 200 at Myakka River S.P. (inland!), 125 each at Coot Bay–Everglades N.P. and Merritt Island N.W.R., and 101 at St. Augustine.


There were 14,378 Black Vultures on 80 counts, and 46,211 Turkey Vultures on all 83.

Selected diurnal raptors included statewide totals of 3964 Ospreys on 80 counts, 1658 Bald Eagles on 75, and 4107 Red-shouldered Hawks on 82 counts (every count except Long Key–Lignumvitae). Ten White-tailed Kites were tallied: five at Homestead, three at STA5–Clewiston, and singles at Avon Park A.F. Range and Kissimmee Prairie–DeLuca. Highest tallies among the 349 Snail Kites on 14 counts were 275 at Gainesville, 32 at Kissimmee Valley, and 15 at Ten Thousand Islands. Sharp-shinned Hawks numbered 93 individuals on 48 counts, while Cooper’s Hawks numbered 274 individuals on 62. Short-tailed Hawks totaled 87 individuals on 28 counts, with 17 at Kendall Area, 11 at Homestead, eight at Long Pine Key, and seven at Ten Thousand Islands. No Swainson’s Hawks were reported. Florida’s five resident owl species totaled 30 Barn Owls on 11 counts (including nine at South Brevard County); 274 Eastern Screech-Owls on 44 (including 26 at Gainesville and 21 at St. Petersburg); 307 Great Horned Owls on 61 (with 51 at Gainesville, 26 at Tallahassee, and 20 at St. Marks); 123 Burrowing Owls on 10 (among these 55 at Fort Myers and 30 at Fort Lauderdale); and 514 Barred Owls on 56 (including 74 at Gainesville, 51 at Avon Park A.F. Range, and 39 at St. Marks). Belted Kingfishers were found on every CBC, with a statewide total of 2262 individuals; the highest counts were 116 at Ten Thousand Islands, 103 at Merritt Island N.W.R., and 70 at Gainesville.


Red-headed Woodpeckers numbered 368 individuals on 35 counts, including 48 at St. Marks, 35 at Melrose, 32 at Brooksville, 26 at Avon Park A.F. Range, and 25 at Ichetucknee–Santa Fe–O’Leno. Among 2527 Downy Woodpeckers on 75 counts were 194 at Gainesville, 120 at Sarasota, and 110 at Ichetucknee–Santa Fe–O’Leno. Possibly Florida’s rarest Dryobates, Hairy Woodpeckers totaled 26 on 15 counts, but not all were documented. Red-cockaded Woodpeckers numbered 62 on 12 counts, with 24 at Avon Park A.F. Range, 11 at Panacea, and seven at South Brevard County. Northern Flickers numbered 385 individuals on 58 counts, including 36 at Ichetucknee–Santa Fe–O’Leno, 32 at Tallahassee, 29 at Merritt Island N.W.R., and 23 at St. Marks. Crested Caracaras totaled 115 individuals on 22 counts, among these 22 at STA5–Clewiston, 21 at Kissimmee Prairie–DeLuca, eight each at Myakka River S.P. and Okaloacoochee Slough–Spirit of the Wild W.M.A., and seven each at Avon Park A.F. Range and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Of the 2847 American Kestrels on all 83 counts were 129 at Fort Pierce, 91 at South Brevard County, 75 at West Palm Beach, 69 at STA5–Clewiston, and 65 at Kendall Area. Merlins totaled 106 on 43 counts, among these seven at Homestead, six at Gainesville, five each at Cedar Key and Panacea, and four each at Dade County and St. Petersburg. Peregrine Falcons numbered 65 on 35 counts, all of one to three individuals each except four at Jonathan Dickinson S.P. Eleven species of psittacids totaling 5692 individuals were reported, distributed over 22 CBCs. Chief among these were 1312 Nanday Parakeets on 15 counts (including 310 at Sarasota, 220 at Fort De Soto, 205 at Bradenton, and 200 at St. Petersburg), 875 Monk Parakeets on 16 counts (with 250 at West Palm Beach, 180 at St. Petersburg, and 150 at Fort Lauderdale), White-eyed Parakeets at Dade County (140) and Fort Lauderdale (40), Red-masked Parakeets at Dade County (32) and Kendall Area (70), Mitred Parakeets at Dade County (16) and Kendall Area (83), and 85 Blue-crowned Parakeets on four counts. White-winged Parakeets were again missed, while Yellow-chevroned Parakeets were tallied at Dade County (29) and Kendall Area (59).


Nine Least Flycatchers were found: three at Homestead and singles each at six other counts. Fifteen Vermilion Flycatcher graced 11 counts: three at Gainesville, two each at Port St. Joe and Zellwood–Dora, and singles each at Bay Lake, Choctawhatchee Bay, Clermont, Homestead, Jacksonville, Panacea, Tallahassee, and The Villages–Lake Panasoffkee. Two Ash-throated Flycatchers were found at Clermont, with singles each at Daytona Beach, Gainesville, and Homestead. Great Crested Flycatchers totaled 386 individuals on 36 counts, among these 38 at Fakahatchee, 37 at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, and 24 at Ten Thousand Islands. Three Brown-crested Flycatchers were found at Homestead, with two others at Long Pine Key. Two Tropical Kingbirds were at Homestead, with singles elsewhere at Clermont and STA5–Clewiston. Western Kingbirds numbered 36 individuals on 18 counts, among these seven at Homestead, five at Jacksonville, four at Long Pine Key, and three at Cocoa. Of Florida’s 20 Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, 12 were at Homestead, five at Alafia Banks, and singles each were at Key West, Lakeland, and Okaloacoochee Slough–Spirit of the Wild W.M.A.


No Bell’s Vireos were reported. Twenty-seven Yellow-throated Vireos were found on seven counts statewide, with nine at Kendall Area, seven at Homestead, and four at Fort Lauderdale. High totals of the 1702 Loggerhead Shrikes found on 68 counts were 160 at Peace River, 106 at Homestead, 89 at Venice–Englewood, and 70 at Naples. Florida Scrub-Jays totaled 388 individuals on 18 counts, led by 96 at Merritt Island N.W.R., 77 at South Brevard County, and 71 at Lake Placid. There were 11,021 American Crows on 67 counts, and 55,694 Fish Crows on 68. Parid totals were 2743 Carolina Chickadees on 41 counts, and 4075 Tufted Titmice on 59. Fourteen Horned Larks were at Jackson County, their only regular Florida site. Six Purple Martins were documented at Sarasota, with singles elsewhere at Myakka River S.P. and Okaloacoochee Slough–Spirit of the Wild W.M.A. Five Barn Swallow were found at Coot Bay–Everglades N.P., with four others at Long Pine Key. Cave Swallows were tallied at Homestead (45) and Kendall Area (16). STA5–Clewiston accounted for 800 of the state’s 846 Northern Rough-winged Swallows on eight counts; one was north to Alafia Banks. Probably due to the unfavorable weather, no Red-whiskered Bulbuls were found at Kendall Area. Fifty-seven Golden-crowned Kinglets were found on 10 counts, with 10 each at Melrose and St. Marks, and seven at Panacea. Ruby-crowned Kinglets numbered 3720 individuals on 69 counts, among these 750 at Gainesville, 300 at Ichetucknee–Santa Fe–O’Leno, and 170 at St. Marks.


No Red-breasted Nuthatches were reported. Twenty-five White-breasted Nuthatches were at Tallahassee, with another at St. Marks. Brown-headed Nuthatches numbered 678 individuals on 39 counts, with 81 at Panacea, 62 at West Pasco, 54 at Avon Park A.F. Range, 51 at Bay County, and 44 at St. Marks. No Brown Creepers were found. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, tallied on every CBC, totaled 11,006 individuals, among these 675 at Gainesville, 530 at Sarasota, 490 at Kissimmee Valley, 390 at Bradenton, 370 at Kendall Area, and 360 at Bay Lake. Winter Wrens were found on four counts: five at Jackson County, three at Ichetucknee–Santa Fe–O’Leno, and singles at Apalachicola Bay–St. Vincent N.W.R. and St. Marks. Eastern Bluebirds totaled 4341 individuals on 56 counts, with 400 at Bay County, 350 at Gainesville, and 270 at Pensacola. A Wood Thrush photographed at North Pinellas furnished the only report. American Robins were widespread on 69 counts numbering 228,897 individuals, with 100,000 at Melrose, 20,000 at Gainesville, and 16,500 at Aripeka–Bayport. European Starlings totaled 32,830 individuals on 75 counts, among these 7200 at St. Petersburg, 2900 at Naples, and 2000 at West Palm Beach. Common Mynas were found at Dade County (5), Homestead (17), Kendall Area (6), and Key West (3). No Hill Mynas were found; this species is nearing extirpation. One Sprague’s Pipit was at its regular wintering spot at Apalachicola Bay–St. Vincent N.W.R. Cedar Waxwings totaled 5409 on 54 counts, including 450 at Gainesville, 410 at Ichetucknee–Santa Fe–O’Leno, 300 at Tallahassee, 270 at Sarasota, and 250 at Kissimmee Valley.


Twenty-one species of sparrows were acceptably reported; the rarest were a LeConte’s Sparrow at Aripeka–Bayport, single Clay-colored Sparrows at Jackson County and Tallahassee, three Lark Sparrows at Bradenton and another at Bay County, and four Henslow’s Sparrows at Gainesville and one at Tallahassee. Jacksonville reported 128 Nelson’s Sparrows, 125 Saltmarsh Sparrows, four “Sharp-tailed Sparrows,” and 153 Seaside Sparrows. Elsewhere, 46 Nelson’s Sparrows were found on nine Gulf coast counts, with 10 others along the Atlantic coast at Matanzas. Nine other Saltmarsh Sparrows were found along the Gulf coast, with eight at Fort De Soto and one at North Pinellas, and with one other at Matanzas. Another 28 “Sharp-tailed Sparrows” on two counts were not identified to species: 24 at St. Marks and four at Fort De Soto. Seventeen Seaside Sparrows were found on five Gulf coast counts, with four others at Matanzas. Two Dark-eyed Juncos were at Apalachicola Bay–St. Vincent N.W.R, with singles elsewhere at Gainesville, Panacea, and Tallahassee. Six Lincoln’s Sparrows each were tallied at Homestead and Long Pine Key, with singles on six other counts. Swamp Sparrows numbered 2290 on 64 counts, with 410 at Gainesville, 103 at Tallahassee, 101 at North Pinellas, and 100 at Lake Placid.


Seven Yellow-breasted Chats were found: four at Long Pine Key, two at Gainesville, and one at Kendall Area. A male Western Spindalis of the Cuban race pretrei was discovered and photographed on the CBC at Key West and was not seen again until April 2023. Eastern Meadowlarks numbered 1736 individuals on 58 counts, among these 230 at Kissimmee Prairie–De Luca, 187 at Avon Park A.F. Range, and 175 at STA5–Clewiston. A Yellow-headed Blackbird photographed count-week at Kissimmee Valley was the only report. Florida’s 126 Rusty Blackbirds were distributed as follows: 120 at Gainesville, four at Jacksonville, and singles each at Bradenton (photographed) and Merritt Island N.W.R. No Brewer’s Blackbirds were reported. There were 43,649 Common Grackles on 77 counts and 28,385 Boat-tailed Grackles on 75. A Shiny Cowbird was photographed count-week at Sarasota. Two Bronzed Cowbirds were at Homestead, and one was at Sarasota; another was count-week at Bradenton. There were 7783 Brown-headed Cowbirds on 57 counts, with 1100 at Gainesville and 1050 at Jackson County. Spot-breasted Orioles totaled 16 individuals: nine at Dade County, four at Kendall Area, two at West Palm Beach, and one at Fort Lauderdale. Of the 92 Baltimore Orioles on 17 counts, 49 were at Gainesville; the next-highest total was six at Clermont. House Finches totaled 977 individuals on 53 counts, with 102 at Bay County, 98 at Pensacola, and 80 at Sarasota. Fourteen Purple Finches were at Pensacola, with two at Tallahassee, and singles at Bay County and St. Marks. No Pine Siskins were found. There were 1982 American Goldfinches on 59 counts, with triple-digit totals of 220 at Ichetucknee–Santa Fe–O’Leno, 218 at Gainesville, 130 at Melrose, and 127 at Tallahassee.


House Sparrows totaled 1901 on 55 counts, among these 230 at Sarasota, 177 at Bay County, 143 at Pensacola, 120 at Dade County, and 112 at Kendall Area. Scaly-breasted Munias were found at Kendall Area (24) and Pensacola (61). This season, 23 species of New World warblers were accepted. The rarest were two Hooded Warblers (together, with one photographed) at South Brevard County, a Tennessee Warbler at Gainesville, and single Louisiana Waterthrushes at Dade County and Homestead. Worm-eating Warblers were documented at Dade County (2), Sarasota (photograph), and West Palm Beach. Two Nashville Warblers enlivened Kendall Area, with singles elsewhere at Gainesville, Homestead, and St. Petersburg. Among 40 Black-throated Blue Warblers on nine counts, 10 each were at Homestead and Kendall Area. High counts of Florida’s 66 Black-throated Green Warblers on 14 counts were 22 at Kendall Area and 17 at Homestead. Two Wilson’s Warblers were at Coot Bay–Everglades N.P., with singles elsewhere at Gainesville, Homestead, Kendall Area, and Lake City (photograph). Five New World warblers exceeded 1000 individuals statewide: 48,975 Yellow-rumped Warblers on 81 counts, 26,718 Palm Warblers on all 83 counts; 4437 Pine Warblers on 77; 3225 Common Yellowthroats on 80; and 1225 Black-and-white Warblers on 75. Of the 135 Northern Waterthrushes on 25 counts, 46 were at Coot Bay–Everglades N.P., with 13 at Gainesville and 10 at Cocoa.


Summer Tanagers totaled 26 on 14 counts, among these four at Dade County and duos each at Fort Lauderdale and Gainesville. A Western Tanager was photographed at Gainesville. Northern Cardinals were tallied on every CBC, with 7871 counted; high totals were 500 at Gainesville, 336 at Ichetucknee–Santa Fe–O’Leno, and 330 at Sarasota. Single Blue Grosbeaks were at Homestead, STA5–Clewiston, and St. Petersburg. Indigo Buntings totaled 157 individuals on 24 counts, with 33 at Sarasota and 30 at Bradenton. Painted Buntings numbered 492 individuals on 48 counts, 79 at Homestead, 48 at West Palm Beach, 40 at South Brevard County, 37 at Kendall Area, and 33 at Fort Pierce. A Dickcissel was heard overhead at Coot Bay–Everglades N.P.


For the 15th year, Bruce Anderson reviewed most of the documentation forms received from compilers. Following Bruce’s review, I searched eBird for photographs of rare species that were found on CBCs but for which compilers did not submit documentation to us. I found nearly 40 valid records that allowed these rare species to remain in the CBC database! Together, our efforts resulted in 159 rare birds being documented from 48 CBCs. Compilers from 35 other Florida CBCs provided no documentation for any species, and while some CBCs contained no rare birds, compilers for most of these 35 Florida CBCs failed to perform one of their most important tasks—ensuring that all species reported on their CBC were correctly identified and reported. Compilers, please submit documentation for all rare birds on your CBCs! Do not expect us to search online sources for photographs that document such rarities! Quality control among many Florida CBC compilers has declined significantly over the past few years. This season, Bruce and I deleted reports of 37 extremely rare or often-misidentified species from 27 counts; these deleted reports represent 0.34 percent of all CBC sightings from this season. Three species were deleted from each of two CBCs, two species were deleted from each of five counts, and 20 counts each had one species deleted. Species deleted from Florida’s CBCs were Cinnamon Teal, Greater Scaup, Common Merganser, Pacific Loon, Great Cormorant, Least Bittern, Broad-winged Hawk, Semipalmated Sandpiper (from two counts), Franklin’s Gull, Gull-billed Tern (two counts), Common Tern (two counts), Golden-fronted Woodpecker/Red-bellied Woodpecker (three individuals; changed to Red-bellied Woodpecker), Eastern Kingbird (two counts), Gray Kingbird, Bell’s Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo (two counts), Purple Martin (33 individuals), Northern Rough-winged Swallow (three counts), Barn Swallow, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus; an Old World species with no record for eastern North America), Worm-eating Warbler, Yellow Warbler (from two counts; 500 individuals were changed to Yellow-rumped Warblers), Black-throated Gray Warbler (five individuals; these were changed to Black-throated Green Warbler), Wilson’s Warbler, Purple Finch (from three counts), and Blue Grosbeak. Additionally, Bruce and I appended 76 other sightings with the “Details Desired” or “Questionable Number” codes—the latter primarily for Mottled Duck totals.


Bruce and I especially thank the compilers of the following counts for their attention to detail and for submitting documentation for all their rarities: Bill Boeringer (Kendall Area), Laura Berkelman (Melrose), David Bowman (Tampa), Charlie Ewell (Fort Myers), Charlie Fisher (Alafia Banks), Christina Fisher (Merritt Island N.W.R.), Cole Fredricks (Green Swamp), Jeff Graham (Jacksonville), Mitchell Harris (Cocoa), Sue Killeen (Matanzas), Emily Kless (Naples), Bill Kaempfer (North Pinellas), Andy Kratter (Gainesville), Belinda Perry (Myakka River S.P.), Brian Rapoza (Coot Bay–Everglades National Park and Dade County), Allison Scheflow (Fort Lauderdale), Chuck Weber (West Palm Beach), and Stu Wilson (Sarasota).