The Missoula Christmas Bird Count was held on Saturday, December 18th. The weather was tough on some of the field participants with temperatures in the range of 0—20°F and winds up to 26 mph and gusts up to 36 mph. In spite of the weather, the Count tallied 72 species which is at our average. 52 people participated in the field count and there were 27 feeder watchers.
Six trumpeter swans (Jim Brown) were a first for the Missoula Count. Other good birds included 6 tundra swans (Dick Hutto & Sue Reel), golden eagle (Brian Williams), Cooper’s hawk (Paul Loehnen), prairie falcon (Terry Toppins), northern saw-whet owl (Joe Regan), winter wren (Norm & Cathy Smyers), yellow-rumped warbler (Robin Anderson), and Harris’ sparrow (Jim Brown). Jim Brown’s group birded Mastel and Jim Edwards’ properties and had the only northern pintail and American wigeon. Rose Leach’s group birded Mullan Rd. and had the only gadwall and gray partridge. Joe Elliott’s group birded LaValle and Butler Creeks and had the only ruffed grouse. Brian Williams birded the Stewart Peak trail and had the only golden-crowned kinglets.
Other group leaders included Poody McLaughin and Joe Regan who birded Kelly Island, Virginia Vincent who birded Target Range and Orchard Homes, Steve Schlang who birded Woods Gulch, Norm & Cathy Smyers who birded Tower St. Open Space and State Nursery, Paul Loehnen who birded Council Grove and Kona Ranch, Terry Toppins who birded Maclay and Big Flats, Jim Sparks who birded the upper Clark Fork and Kim Williams trail, Megan Fylling who birded West of the airport, Robin Anderson who birded the University and Greenough Park, Will McDowell who birded Crazy Canyon, Dick Hutto & Sue Reel who birded Slevens Island and Rattlesnake Greenway, and the author birded Grant Creek.
During the count we observed 72 species and a total of 5,698 individual birds. Three additional species were seen during the week bracketing count day. The table below gives details.
The day ended with another fabulous potluck dinner at the home of Ruth & Russ Royter. 32 people attended the potluck and the bird tabulation. A big thank you to Ruth & Russ for hosting again and to everyone who participated in the Count.
|great blue heron (15)||ruffed grouse (2)||red-breasted nuthatch (274)|
|tundra swan (6)||wild turkey (126)||white-breasted nuthatch (16)|
|trumpeter swan (6)||killdeer (10)||pygmy nuthatch (62)|
|Canada goose (565)||Wilson’s snipe (10)||brown creeper (8)|
|green-winged teal (17)||rock pigeon (150)||Pacific wren (1)|
|mallard (566)||mourning dove (41)||American dipper (8)|
|northern pintail (8)||Eurasian-collared dove (70)||golden-crowned kinglet (2)|
|gadwall (2)||great horned owl (13)||Townsend’s solitaire (15)|
|American wigeon (1)||northern pygmy owl (5)||American robin (43)|
|common goldeneye (71)||long-eared owl (21)||Bohemian waxwing (413)|
|Barrow’s goldeneye (cw)||northern saw-whet owl (1)||cedar waxwing (192)|
|hooded merganser (cw)||belted kingfisher (7)||northern shrike (2)|
|common merganser (20)||downy woodpecker (65)||European starling (5)|
|bald eagle (46)||hairy woodpecker (26)||yellow-rumped warbler (1)|
|golden eagle (1)||northern flicker (166)||American tree sparrow (4)|
|sharp-shinned hawk (10)||pileated woodpecker (9)||song sparrow (47)|
|Cooper’s hawk (1)||Steller’s jay (14)||Harris’ sparrow (1)|
|red-tailed hawk (23)||blue jay (cw)||dark-eyed junco (297)|
|rough-legged hawk (29)||Clark’s nutcracker (31)||red-winged blackbird (78)|
|American kestrel (2)||black-billed magpie (324)||house finch (297)|
|merlin (2)||American crow (178)||red crossbill (170)|
|prairie falcon (1)||common raven (192)||pine siskin (123)|
|gray partridge (20)||black-capped chickadee (322)||American goldfinch (76)|
|ring-necked pheasant (23)||mountain chickadee (17)||evening grosbeak (48)|
|dusky grouse (3)||chestnut-backed chickadee (2)||house sparrow (446)|
by Larry Weeks