This past season 502 field participants found 147 species on 27 Christmas Bird Counts in Missouri. Snow was all but absent on all counts and moving water was open or only partly frozen statewide. Beginning- and end-of-day temperatures averaged 32 °F (15–47 °F) and 42 °F (23–60) °F. Automobile odometers increased by a total of 8106 miles.
The most unusual sighting was that of a Cape May Warbler at a feeder in Ferguson on the Confluence count. Other rarities included a Long-tailed Duck, two Eared Grebes, and a Tree Swallow at Trimble, a Plegadis ibis at St. Joseph, a Great Egret at Columbia, an Osprey in Dallas County, a Golden Eagle at Montrose Lake (also, a count-week bird at Kirksville), a Prairie Falcon at Montrose Lake, two Virginia Rails at (you guessed it) Columbia, five Least Sandpipers at Horton-Four Rivers, one Thayer’s Gull and two Lesser Black-backed Gulls at Confluence, a Long-eared Owl at Grand River, a Northern Saw-whet Owl at Columbia, one each Northern Shrikes at Grand River and Kirksville, a Fish Crow at Big Oak Tree, one American Pipit at Kirksville and 30 in Taney County, a Pine Warbler at Maramec Spring, and five Smith’s Longspurs at Joplin. There were two reports of Sandhill Crane, one at Horton-Four Rivers and a remarkable 19 at Squaw Creek.
Several counts had particularly high numbers of some species. More than a million Snow Geese were reported from 17 counts, most at Squaw Creek. Trumpeter Swans occurred on 10 counts, with 516 at Squaw Creek and 585 at Confluence. There were 141 Wild Turkeys at Springfield, 105 Northern Bobwhite at Grand River, 19 Common Loons and 1261 Black Vultures in Taney County, 1013 Double-crested Cormorants at Montrose Lake, 111 Northern Harriers at Cole Camp Prairies, 27 Short-eared Owls and 483 Red-headed Woodpeckers at Horton-Four Rivers, 45 Pileated Woodpeckers, 3134 Cedar Waxwings, and 631 Yellow-rumped Warblers in Taney County, 104 Pine Siskins in Jefferson County, and 381 Eurasian Tree Sparrows at Confluence.
Species reported in significantly (99% confidence level) less-than-usual numbers compared to the average for the past 15 years include Gadwall, Lesser Scaup, Wild Turkey, Great Blue Heron, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Merlin, Killdeer, Wilson’s Snipe, Rock Pigeon, Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Phoebe, American Crow, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, European Starling, Savannah Sparrow, Le Conte’s Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Brown-headed Cowbird, and American Goldfinch. This list includes a number of seed-eating species. Species that were reported in significantly greater-than-usual numbers include Greater White-fronted Goose, Snow Goose, Trumpeter Swan, Tundra Swan, Mallard, Redhead, Ruddy Duck, Common Loon, Black Vulture, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Eastern Screech-Owl, Red-headed Woodpecker, Cedar Waxwing, and Rusty Blackbird.
Six counts found 90 or more species, with Horton-Four Rivers taking the lead at 98. Congratulations to Grand River on the 25th anniversary and Joplin on the 100th anniversary of their first CBCs.