Thirty-one counts were conducted in Tennessee during the 115th CBC season, including one “new” count (Big Sandy―welcome!); this count, or one similarly located, was conducted during a previous season, but its results were not submitted to the Audubon database at that time.  Missing from this year’s counts were Cross Creeks N.W.R. and Norris; a few other counts, some of which have reported to the Audubon CBC database in the past, were conducted but not reported to Audubon this year.

The total of species found during count day on this season’s 31 counts was 155, identical to the total for the 114th season and a bit larger than totals for several years prior to the 114th season. No species was reported as being observed only as a count week species for the entire collection of counts conducted during the 115th CBC, also the case for the 114th season but infrequently the case prior to that season. Fifteen species were noted on just one count, while 23 species were noted on all counts.

Slightly over three million individual birds were counted during the 115th CBC, a considerable increase from the total of individual birds (approximately 840,000) counted during the 114th CBC. Most of the increase was caused by a dramatic increase in the number of Common Grackles counted, from about 60,000 state-wide during the 114th CBC to 2.2 million during the 115th CBC; nearly all of the increase in grackle numbers came from a single location, Murfreesboro, where 2 million grackles were tallied during the 115th CBC, as opposed to three grackles during the 114th CBC.

Five counts exceeded 100 species this season with Duck River (114; congratulations!) taking the top spot for the second year in a row. Savannah (111), Big Sandy (109), Reelfoot Lake (108), and Knoxville (102) also exceeded the century mark with Chattanooga (99) coming close.

Weather this season was generally conducive to counting birds across the Volunteer State. Fifteen counts experienced conditions that included no form of precipitation on count day.  Fourteen counts reported light rain for part or all of the day. And two counts reported hard rain during part of the day. No count circle experienced snow on count day despite the fact that sub-freezing temperatures were noted on 13 counts conducted this season.  Shady Valley reported the lowest temperature (13 degrees F on January 1st) among the 31 counts, while Memphis reported the highest (66 degrees F on December 14th).

No species new to CBCs in Tennessee was discovered this season, so the all-time CBC species total remains at about 270. Several species set or tied the all-time highest number counted on a single Tennessee CBC; see the paragraphs below for specifics about these noteworthy species. 

Geese and Swans

Greater White-fronted Geese appeared in eight CBC circles this season, with nearly 6500 at Reelfoot Lake being the highest total achieved across the state.  Reestablished Big Sandy accounted for this season’s high count (16) of Ross’s Goose, six other counts also recording this goose in smaller numbers. Reelfoot Lake produced the high count (over 18,000) for Snow Geese among nine counts registering this goose.  Duck River tallied 30 Cackling Geese, followed closely by the count (29) at Big Sandy; Clarksville with two was the only other count to include this goose on its list of species.  Canada Geese were reported on 29 counts with almost 1000 at Knoxville being the most reported on a single count this season. The lone Mute Swan at Crossville continued its stay within that circle, being noted there for the fifth consecutive CBC season; two Mute Swans at Memphis were the only others reported.

Ducks

Wood Ducks turned up on 24 counts across the state in mostly low numbers; the high count (49) this season was made at Chattanooga. Gadwall swam or flew into view on 25 counts, with Big Sandy listing more than 7500, well below last year’s state record CBC high count at Cross Creeks but still a good number. Big Sandy’s total of 1470 American Wigeon was also the best count of the season among the 12 circles reporting this duck, and that count also produced the season’s best total (44) for American Black Duck, as well as the best total (over 44,000) for Mallard.  Nine Blue-winged Teal at Duck River, four at White County, and two at DeKalb County were the only ones reported.  Duck River garnered the season’s high count honors for Northern Shoveler (173) and Northern Pintail (an impressive 1214), the latter species being found on only ten counts. Green-winged Teal showed up on 16 counts, more than 8000 at Big Sandy being the most counted and an impressive total. The loss of data from the absent Cross Creeks N.W.R. count this season was most seriously felt among the species totals for dabbling ducks.

Canvasbacks were reported on nine counts, more than 1100 at Duck River being the season’s high count. Redheads showed up on 10 counts, 115 at Crossville representing the highest total reported. Ring-necked Ducks were counted in 21 circles, the same number of circles as last year, but the high count (777 at Big Sandy) this season was considerably lower than high count (5500) last season. Greater Scaup was represented on seven counts, 39 at Big Sandy being the most reported for this diver. Lesser Scaup made 12 check-lists this season, down from 18 check-lists last season, with nearly 9000 at Reelfoot Lake being the season’s high count. Two Surf Scoter at Duck River were the only ones reported this season for a diving duck seldom reported on Tennessee CBCs. Two Long-tailed Ducks at Big Sandy and another in Memphis provided this species’ entire presence on this season’s counts. Twenty-one circles logged Bufflehead with 600 at Duck River setting a state CBC high count by a wide margin over the previous state CBC high count (394) set just last year at Crossville. Eleven counts listed Common Goldeneye with nearly 400 at Big Sandy being the high count of the season. Among the most widely distributed wintering ducks in the state is often the Hooded Merganser; it showed up on 24 counts with 251 at Hiwassee being the season’s high count.  Common Mergansers were tabulated on two counts, four at Big Sandy and one at Savannah being all that were found this season. Red-breasted Mergansers were reported on seven counts, fewer than half the number of counts on which it was found during the 114th season but still a good number.  Ruddy Ducks were noted on 14 counts and the high count (3755, fewer than half the record number tallied last season) once again emanated from Reelfoot Lake.

Gallinaceous Species

Northern Bobwhites were tallied in low numbers on just seven counts, with 20 at Cookeville representing the season’s high count. Two Ruffed Grouse on the Great Smoky Mountains count, as well as count week registrations at Elizabethton and Roan Mountain, represented all grouse resulting from the state CBC effort this season. On the other hand, Wild Turkeys made the list on 28 counts, failing to be recorded only on the Franklin-Coffey County, Jackson, and Memphis counts.

Loons and Grebes

The spate of rare loons discovered during the 114th season in Tennessee did not recur during the 115th season, Common Loon being the only species of loon tallied; it was reported on 14 counts, one more than last year’s number, and the season’s high count (450) took place at Big Sandy, a location famous for its wintering loon populations. Pied-billed Grebes were again typically widespread, being reported on 29 counts (and missed only on the counts at Great Smoky Mountains and Shady Valley); over 550 at Chattanooga provided the season’s CBC high count. The total of 900 Horned Grebes on the Franklin-Coffey County count was the season’s high count among the 16 circles in which this grebe was detected. No Eared Grebe was reported during the 115th season, a Red-necked Grebe at Reelfoot Lake being the only rare member of that group to be discovered.

Pelicans, Cormorants, and Herons

American White Pelicans appeared on just three counts, all in the western half of the state; 670 at Reelfoot Lake represented an impressive seasonal CBC high count. Double-crested Cormorants were reported on 12 counts, slightly down from the 14 counts on which this species was reported during the 114th CBC, and the state-wide total (1814) also dropped quite a bit from the overall total (3762) reported during the 114th season.  Great Blue Herons were detected on all 31 counts this season, with 166 at Knoxville being the season’s CBC high count. Five counts included Great Egret on their lists with Duck River providing the season’s CBC high count (14). Black-crowned Night-Herons appeared on the list of four counts; this season’s CBC high count (26) derived from Hiwassee.

New Worlds Vultures and Diurnal Raptors

High-elevation Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains, and Roan Mountain, as well as Crossville on the Cumberland Plateau, were the only counts not reporting Black Vulture this season; among the other 27 counts Murfreesboro led the way with 1000 on its list.  Turkey Vulture was missed at Cades Cove and Crossville, as well as, oddly enough, Columbia, but was otherwise ubiquitously present across the state; White County garnered the season’s high count (338). Bald Eagles were noted within 20 count circles; with a combined 56—exactly the total also achieved during the 114th CBC—Reelfoot Lake again led the way in number of eagles tallied during the 115th CBC. Reelfoot Lake also tallied the most Northern Harriers (17); the only other counts with double-digit harrier totals were Savannah (16) and Duck River (14). With seven Sharp-shinned Hawks on its list, Chattanooga achieved the season’s CBC high count for this decreasing raptor; only 50 Sharpies were counted state-wide during the 115th CBC. Cooper’s Hawks were found on 30 counts, being missed only at Hiwassee; the urban centers of Memphis and Nashville shared the season’s CBC high count (8). Northern Goshawk was reported at Roan Mountain; documentation of this report was adequate but would have been improved if details about the presence or absence of streaking on the undertail coverts and about the banding pattern on the dorsal surface of the rectrices had been obtained and described. Found on 28 counts with a seasonal CBC high count of 28 (Memphis for the second consecutive year), Red-shouldered Hawk was predictably surpassed in total number of individuals and in ubiquity by the Red-tailed, found on all 31 counts with a high count of 54 (White County). Observations of single Golden Eagles came only from three counts along the Tennessee River (Duck River, Perry County, and Savannah).

Rails, Coots, and Cranes

Reports of Virginia Rails came from just two sites—Chattanooga (3) and Savannah (2); no Soras were reported.  Over 5700 American Coots were tallied at Big Sandy, greatly exceeding the next highest count total and accounting from more than a third of all coots counted in the state this season. A single Whooping Crane—still not a listable species in Tennessee but certainly one that needs careful monitoring—at Hiwassee accounted for the entire presence of this endangered species on this season’s counts. Sandhill Cranes were listed on 10 counts, mostly in lowish numbers except as usual at Hiwassee where slightly more than 11,000 were reported.

Shorebirds

Unreported only at Columbia and Roan Mountain, Killdeers were noted on all other counts, Reelfoot Lake producing the season’s high count (1101). Dunlins at Hiwassee included at least 38 individuals, down from 77 reported there during the 114th CBC; no other sightings of this shorebird were made within CBC circles this season.  Least Sandpipers also showed up at Hiwassee, where 25 were the season’s CBC high count, and elsewhere only at Reelfoot Lake (14). Wilson’s Snipes were registered on 20 counts during the 114th season and on the same number of counts this season, 48 at Columbia being the season’s CBC high count. American Woodcocks turned up on 16 counts, with nine at Savannah representing the season’s CBC high count.

Gulls and Terns

This season’s total (about 30,500) of Ring-billed Gulls collectively reported on the state’s 31 counts was about ten times the total (just under 3000) for Bonaparte’s Gulls, which in turn was about 15 times the total (210) for Herring Gulls; these figures are roughly the expected ones for these larids and fairly close to equivalent figures from the 114th season. Reports of rarer gulls on CBCs this season included Lesser Black-backed Gulls on three counts (Savannah, where 3 were reported; and Hickory-Priest and Big Sandy with one apiece) and an immature Great Black-backed Gull on one count (Big Sandy). Forster’s Terns made appearances along the Tennessee River at Big Sandy (1) and Duck River (4).

Doves

Rock Pigeons were present on all counts, in apparently typical numbers for this columbid.  Eurasian Collared-Doves were noted on 19 counts, a modest increase over last year’s 17 counts; Memphis, as usual, hosted the season’s high count (69, down considerably from last year’s high count). Mourning Doves were expectedly found on all counts.

Owls

Nocturnal work during the 31 CBCs conducted this season resulted in about 72.5 hours of effort. This season’s top honor goes to Bristol where five hours of night effort was expended. Single Barn Owls were noted on just three counts (Bristol, Cookeville, and Duck River). Eastern Screech-Owls were recorded on 25 counts; Bristol and Elizabethton tied for the season’s high count (14) of this most common (105 counted state-wide) of the state’s nocturnal raptors.  Great Horned Owls (75 state-wide) and Barred Owls (89 state-wide) were noted on 19 and 24 counts, respectively. Short-eared Owls were noted only at Reelfoot Lake (4) and Savannah (1).  The much rarer Long-eared Owl was observed at Memphis, the only circle where this infrequent winter visitor was reported.

Hummingbirds and Kingfishers

A single photographed Rufous at Chattanooga was the only hummingbird resulting from this season’s CBC effort. Belted Kingfishers were found on all counts except Franklin-Coffey County, with Knoxville achieving this season’s CBC high count (44) as it did during the 114th season.

Woodpeckers

Besides being the least abundant and least ubiquitous of the state’s woodpeckers each CBC season, the Red-headed is also known for being the most erratic in terms of its abundance. During the 115th CBC 429 (more than double the 210 counted during the 114th CBC) were found statewide on 22 counts (versus 21 counts during the 114th CBC); Savannah accounted for the season’s high count (88, well above last season’s high count of 33). Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, and Pileated Woodpecker appeared on all 31 CBC lists this season, while Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (30 lists) and Hairy Woodpecker (30) were nearly as widespread. State-wide totals for these species did not vary as much as did the state-wide totals for the Red-headed Woodpecker from the 114th to the 115th season.  Here are the state-wide totals during the 114th and 115th seasons, respectively, for these species: Red-bellied Woodpecker (1639; 1751); Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (496; 522); Downy Woodpecker (912; 1112); Hairy Woodpecker (196; 211); Northern Flicker (955; 1358); and Pileated Woodpecker (414; 618). None of these species doubled in total number counted from the 114th to the 115th seasons as did the Red-headed, although the flicker the Pileated were each about 50% higher.

Falcons

American Kestrels were observed on all 31 counts during the 115th season and, as during the 114th season, were tallied in highest numbers at Buffalo River where 61 were present, just edging out White County where 60 kestrels were counted.  Four Merlins at Knoxville became a new state CBC high count and fulfilled the prediction made in last year’s report that the state’s then CBC high count  (3) for Merlin was almost certain to be exceeded in the not-so-distant future; Merlins were reported on five other counts this season including Hickory-Priest (3) and Savannah (2). Peregrines were found in five circles with Clarksville’s total (2) representing the season’s high count.

Flycatchers, Shrikes, and Vireos

Eastern Phoebes had a fairly good season, being recorded on all counts except Murfreesboro; 27 at Knoxville represented the season’s high count, also edging out White County where 26 were counted.  Loggerhead Shrikes were registered on 10 counts, a reduction from last year when this decreasing species was found on 13 counts; 30 shrikes were detected state-wide with 12 at Reelfoot Lake being the season’s high count; these numbers do not give rise to sanguine thoughts about the state’s shrike population, but it must be noted that the shrike total (9) from this season’s Buffalo River CBC was greatly reduced by heavy rainfall during a considerable part of count day. Blue-headed Vireo was located on only one count (Chattanooga), fewer than anticipated and possibly a result of the extremely cold temperatures that were experienced in the state during mid-November 2014.  This period of frigid temperatures possibly caused some semi-hardy species to go farther south than usual for the winter, thereby possibly reducing the number of individuals that could be counted on CBCs. Other semi-hardy species may have been affected in this manner (see below).

Corvids, Larks, and Swallows

Blue Jays and American Crows were noted on all counts in good numbers, while Fish Crow was present on four counts (Chattanooga, Jackson, and Knoxville, each with count day registrations, and Reelfoot Lake where a count week registration took place).  Common Ravens were recorded on five counts, with Roan Mountain listing the season’s CBC high count (24). Horned Larks turned up on 12 counts, with Reelfoot Lake turning in the season’s CBC high count (421). The season’s only swallows were a Northern Rough-winged at Bristol, tying the state record CBC high count (1) and making four years running that this species has been found as a single individual during the CBC season in the state, and a Tree at Knoxville, only the second to be reported during the long-running history of that count.

Chickadees, Nuthatches, and Creepers

Just over 3400 Carolina Chickadees were counted state-wide this season, with all circles reflecting the presence of this common and familiar species.  As happened last year, three Black-capped Chickadees were reported from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the only Tennessee CBC circle where this species has been reliably present during the century-long history of the CBC in the state. Tufted Titmice were detected in every circle and totaled about 2900 state-wide.  Twenty-four Red-breasted Nuthatches were collectively counted on ten counts, almost identical to the equivalent figures from the 114th CBC and an indication that no very pronounced irruption into Tennessee took place by the early part of the winter of 2014-2015. About 920 White-breasted Nuthatches got themselves counted, being noted on all counts and represented in highest number (82) at Nashville; it should be noted that the lists for Hickory-Priest and Hiwassee reflected just one lone White-breasted Nuthatch in each case; this species’ abundance varies considerably from circle to circle, the variation being quite dramatic between the Nashville circle where the season’s high count took place and the almost adjacent Hickory-Priest circle where only one individual could be located.  Brown-headed Nuthatches were found on six counts, the same number as during the 114th season; all these counts were ones where this nuthatch has been reported during past seasons; let it be noted, however, that the high count (21) came from Knoxville where a decade ago no Brown-headed Nuthatches were known to be present. Brown Creeper was missed on only two counts (Franklin-Coffey County and White County); the season’s high count (11) for creeper took place in the Great Smoky Mountains circle.

Wrens and Gnatcatchers

Four species of wrens were reported this season led by Carolina, found unsurprisingly in all circles in good numbers (2700+ state-wide).  Winter Wrens were found in all but two circles and were, like last season, ten times less numerous than the Carolina, totaling 274 individuals, a fairly standard proportion for these two species. House Wrens turned up sparsely on eight counts, an average representation for this wren; the season’s CBC high count (5) was accumulated in Memphis.  Marsh Wrens were reported on four counts (Duck River, Fayette County, Nickajack Lake, and Reelfoot Lake) in very small numbers. No Sedge Wren was reported. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were identified at Duck River and Hickory-Priest, a good showing for this rarely encountered species on Tennessee CBCs.

Kinglets through Waxwings

Missed only on the Columbia and Franklin-Coffey County counts, Golden-crowned Kinglets were present in lesser numbers than during the 114th CBC (840 state-wide compared with more than 1200 during the previous season).  Ruby-crowned Kinglets were present in somewhat lesser numbers (about 450 state-wide) than during the previous season, the cold spell of November 2014 perhaps playing a role in the reductions in wintering numbers of the kinglets.  Bluebirds and Hermit Thrushes showed up on the lists of all counts, while the robin was missed only at Roan Mountain.  Each of these thrushes was encountered in stable numbers. Single Gray Catbirds were present at Bristol, Chattanooga, and Warren County, a better than average showing, despite the cold November weather. Thrashers were missed on five counts, while mockingbirds were ubiquitously present, as were starlings, all also in what appear to be typical numbers. As was the case last year, American Pipits were recorded on slightly fewer (14) than half of the counts, 99 at Hiwassee being the season’s high count. Cedar Waxwings were absent on four counts but were present in fairly high numbers across most of the state.

Warblers

A photographed Black-and-white Warbler on the Knoxville count became just the second ever during that count’s history and was one of few ever to be detected on a CBC in the state.  Single Orange-crowned Warblers were detected on three counts (DeKalb County, Knoxville, and Memphis). Common Yellowthroats were restricted to the southwestern corner of the state, three being detected in Memphis and another in nearby Fayette County. Palm Warblers were represented on just five counts, and the total of individuals on those counts was quite low (6), another possible result of the November 2014 cold spell. Both more widespread and abundant, Pine Warblers showed up on 10 counts with the high count (23) coming from Chattanooga. Most abundant and widespread of all the warblers was the Yellow-rumped, missed only at Crossville and Roan Mountain; the total of individuals for this warbler was about 1700, down about 1000 from the total of individuals reported in Tennessee during the 114th CBC.

Sparrows

Eastern Towhees were present on all counts this season in what appear to be good numbers. American Tree Sparrows had a poorer than average season, a single being found on the Big Sandy count and a count week registration being made at Reelfoot Lake. Chipping Sparrows were reported on 25 counts this season, one more than last season, but the state-wide total of individuals (558) was down considerably, being the lowest total in many years, perhaps also a consequence of the push of arctic air into the state during mid-November. Field Sparrows were absent only at Franklin-Coffey County, with 225 at Savannah representing the season’s high count. Vesper Sparrows were noted on five counts, six at Savannah establishing the season’s CBC high count; these numbers reveal a considerably lesser presence in the state than was the case during the 114th CBC season. Savannah was also the location of the season’s high count (146) of Savannah Sparrow. Le Conte’s Sparrow turned up on just two counts (Memphis and Reelfoot Lake) in west Tennessee where the species is most likely to be present during winter. Missed on seven counts, Fox Sparrows were apparently less well represented this season than is usual, but the high count (35), made at Savannah, was identical to the high count for the 114th CBC. The state total of individuals (3750) for Song Sparrow was down by 1250 from the previous season, a reduction that is hard to explain. No Lincoln’s Sparrow was reported. Swamp Sparrow was missed at Franklin-Coffey County and Murfreesboro, as was the case during the previous season, and in addition it was missed at Roan Mountain this season; other data for this sparrow from the 115th CBC in Tennessee are also nearly identical to data from the 114th CBC in the state; the total of individuals for the 114th CBC (2225) is quite similar to the total of individuals for the 115th CBC (2250), and the season’s high count for the 114th CBC was 733 at Duck River, while the comparable high count for the 115th CBC was 685, also at Duck River. White-throated Sparrows totaled about 7000 state-wide, down about 1100 from the state-wide total made the previous year; the season’s high count (680), as last year made at Memphis, was quite a bit shy of the 1100 counted there during the 114th CBC.  The proportion of White-throated Sparrows to White-crowned Sparrows last season was about 11 / 1 (8100 to 726), and this season it was roughly the same (about 7000 to 734); Hiwassee tabulated the most (111) White-crowned Sparrows, missed on only four counts during the 115th CBC. A nicely described Harris’s Sparrow in Warren County was the best sparrow of the season. Total individuals of Dark-eyed Junco this season (4450) were quite a bit below the total individuals (5800) from last season.  Lapland Longspurs were reported from just three counts, a single individual being reported at Savannah, two being noted at Jackson, and a whopping 6835 deriving from Reelfoot Lake.

Blackbirds

Red-winged Blackbirds were widespread, being represented on 25 counts, but the season’s high count (a little over 10,000 at Jackson) indicated that observers across the state failed to find a significant roost of this species if such a roost existed. Eastern Meadowlarks had a fairly good year, being located on 28 counts in fairly good numbers on most of them; counts missing this species were all located in the far eastern end of the state. Western Meadowlark was identified only at Reelfoot Lake, where three were present. Rusty Blackbirds were tallied on 20 counts—up somewhat from the 17 counts that reported this decreasing icterid last year—in low numbers, the season’s high count (173 at Savannah) being even less of a stellar showing than was the case during the previous season. Brewer’s Blackbird was represented on five counts, 40 at Jackson being the season’s high count. Common Grackle was present in sufficient numbers to indicate the presence of large roosts only at Murfreesboro and Jackson. Brown-headed Cowbirds were counted in lowish numbers, as was the case during the previous season, except at Jackson where 5000 were reported.

Finches, Winter Finches, and Weaver Finches

House Finches were present on all counts in numbers considerably exceeding those reported during the previous season. Purple Finches were widespread but present mainly in single-digit numbers, the high count (19) being made in Warren County. Red Crossbills were found only on two counts in the eastern mountains, seven being counted at Cades Cove and four at Great Smoky Mountains. Pine Siskins were widespread in low to moderate numbers, nearly 200 at Chattanooga representing the season’s CBC high count, indicating that a moderate irruption took place. Goldfinches and House Sparrows were each recorded on 30 counts in good numbers for those species.

Closing Thoughts

To “grok the fullness” of the event we call the annual Christmas Bird Count, each CBC observer must attend to a great many factors that contribute to an understanding of it. One must, first of all, have participated in this exhilarating outdoor activity many times, perhaps at least a hundred times over many decades at many sites around an entire continent, before its complexity and significance can be fully appreciated. It is also helpful to have experienced at the same time a long relationship with a single count, seeing the ebb and flow of interest in “your count” by the members of the local birding community and witnessing the ever-changing panorama of the bird-life as it adapts to the ever-changing landscape found within the 177 square miles that constitute each CBC circle. A full understanding of the CBC also emerges from immersion in the numbers that result from counting birds, first at the level of a lone observer or a member of a small group of observers who slowly accumulate a list of species, along with numbers for each species, during many hours of counting in a CBC territory on the day of a count; then at the level of the numbers generated by a collection of parties contributing to a given count; next at the level of numbers resulting from several counts in your region of a state or province; next at the level of numbers for your entire state or province; and finally at the level of the numbers accumulated for an entire continent.  Subsidiary elements involved in the complex effort to “grok” the CBC (i.e., to gain a deep understanding of this event) include awareness of the ever-advancing quality of equipment and clothing available to those who take part in CBCs and in the ever-advancing birding skill set that must be mastered to contribute most helpfully to the CBC effort. An ability to predict the weather, with or without the aid of meteorological reports and online weather maps, also plays a role in bringing the CBC experience into sharp focus as does the ability to handle the various forms of adverse weather that can take place on count day without being unduly flustered by inaccurate weather predictions or bad weather. Logistical skills are also needed by those who are or who wish to become uber-CBCers: what is the best route to follow in your territory; where are pit stops located for those who imbibe a lot of fluids; where can a noon meal be found or, better yet, where is a good place to eat a prepared lunch and observe birds at the same time; what are the local traffic patterns that need to be accounted for; etc.?  One should also be mindful of local, national, and global patterns that affect the outcome of CBCs on a small or a grand scale; some of these include suburbanization of the rural landscape; continuing efforts to pave and “improve” more and more back roads; “clean” farming practices; efforts to buy large tracts of land and then close off roads into them in order to gain privacy (a recent depressing trend where I live); and, of course, climate change and all that it means to the birdlife and other wildlife of the planet. The study of the CBC, like the study of the birdlife, is never-ending and always deepening; like the ancient mariner, it grabs our attention, maintains that attention, and changes us as we pursue it through the years and decades of our birding lives.

Gratitude is once again due the hundreds of observers and the two dozen compilers who made the CBCs in Tennessee happen. I especially thank the many observers who produce high quality documentation for their more unusual sightings.

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