2021 Missoula Christmas Bird Count Results

Despite Covid and the cold temperatures, the 2021 Christmas Bird Count, which was held on December 18th, was very successful.

The highlights of the Count were 89 bird species, 10,844 total birds and 9 Count Week birds. There were 105 people in the field and there were 20 feeder watchers. It was unfortunate that the cold temperatures arrived just 3 days before the Count because we missed counting 4 birds seen December 15th on the open water at the gravel pit ponds but disappeared when the ice formed: a Long-tailed Duck, a Common Loon, a Western Grebe, and several Barrow’s Goldeneyes. Will McDowell’s group, who birded Macauley Butte, did find the only Gadwalls sitting on the ice at the gravel pit ponds. Will’s group also found the only Pied- billed Grebe on the Bitterroot River. Will Sebern, who was birding independently on the 18th by the gravel pit ponds, also saw the Pied-billed Grebe, but more importantly he found a Horned Grebe and a Trumpeter/Tundra Swan which added to the species list. Rose Leach, who birded along Mullan Road, had the only Ring-necked Ducks, Blue Jay and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Jim Brown, who birded Grass Valley and Mallard Way, had the only American Coot. Denver Holt, who birded the brushy draws west of the airport, had the only Long-eared and Short-eared Owls. Poody’s group on Kelly Island had the only Lewis’s Woodpecker and Rusty Blackbird. Jacob Glass’s group, who birded Maclay Flat, had the only Great Gray Owl and Varied Thrush. Steve Flood, who birded upper LaValle Creek, had the only Clark’s Nutcrackers. Paul Hendricks had tendonitis in his right Achilles tendon, and couldn’t hike the Marshall Canyon to Woods Gulch, but his wife Lisa hiked up Marshall Canyon and found 5 Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches. Brian Williams and his group hiked 10 miles in the Rattlesnake and had the only Canada Jays.

Other group leaders included Boo Curry (Council Grove and Kona Ranch), Don Jones (Slevens Island and Target Range), Andy Boyce (lower LaValle Creek), Vick Applegate (State Nursery and Tower St. Open Space), Robin Anderson (UM and Greenough Park), Kristi DuBois (Flynn-Hiawatha-Custer), Cindy Swidler (between Mullan Rd. and Kelly Island), Terry Toppins (Big Flat), Rose Stoudt (upper Clark Fork and Kim Williams trail), Elena Ulev (Moose Can Gully), Thomas Kallmeyer (Butler Creek and North Hills), Stan Senner (Farviews), Bob Petty (lower Rattlesnake), and the author (Grant Creek).

Other interesting birds were 3 Anna’s Hummingbirds (Andy Boyce had one and Tom Javins had two), 4 Harris’ Sparrows, 7 Merlins, 9 Northern Shrikes, 690 Bohemian Waxwings, and 105 Common Redpolls. The feeder watchers also contributed to the species count; Kay Lambert had the only Cassin’s Finches, Cindy Swidler had the only White-crowned Sparrow, Judith Kiely had the only Lesser Goldfinches, and Stuart Pickens had the only Evening Grosbeak. The Count ended with a potluck at the author’s home. My thanks to everyone who made it a successful Count.

Species and Numbers

Common Loon CWWild Turkey 98Brown Creeper 8
Pied-billed Grebe 1American Coot 1Pacific Wren CW
Horned Grebe 1Killdeer 37Marsh Wren 3
Western Grebe CWWilson’s Snipe 23American Dipper 6
Great Blue Heron 29Rock Pigeon 545Golden-crowned Kinglet 21
Trumpeter/Tundra Swan 1Eurasian Collared-Dove 369Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Canada Goose 1229Mourning Dove 13Townsend’s Solitaire 64
Cackling Goose CWGreat Horned Owl 11American Robin 45
Long-tailed Duck CWNorthern Pygmy Owl 2Varied Thrush 1
Green-winged Teal 64Barred Owl CWBohemian Waxwing 690
Mallard 756Great Gray Owl 1Cedar Waxwing 312
Northern Pintail 10Long-eared Owl 3Northern Shrike 9
Gadwall 10Short-eared Owl 1Gray Catbird CW
American Wigeon 5Northern Saw-whet Owl 2European Starling 57
Ring-necked Duck 43Belted Kingfisher 26American Tree Sparrow 54
Common Goldeneye 304Anna’s Hummingbird 3Song Sparrow 85
Barrow’s Goldeneye CWLewis’s Woodpecker 1White-crowned Sparrow 1
Bufflehead 41Downy Woodpecker 41Harris’s Sparrow 4
Hooded Merganser 13Hairy Woodpecker 22Dark-eyed Junco 279
Common Merganser 61Northern Flicker 308Red-winged Blackbird 405
Bald Eagle 40Pileated Woodpecker 13Rusty Blackbird 1
Northern Harrier 9Canada Jay 3Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk 3Steller’s Jay 8Pine Grosbeak 7
Cooper’s Hawk 2Blue Jay 1Cassin’s Finch 3
Red-tailed Hawk 74Clark’s Nutcracker 9House Finch 781
Rough-legged Hawk 17Black-billed Magpie 432Red Crossbill 295
American Kestrel 9American Crow 102Common Redpoll 105
Merlin 7Common Raven 273Pine Siskin 68
Peregrine Falcon CWBlack-capped Chickadee 568American Goldfinch 184
Prairie Falcon 2Mountain Chickadee 35Lesser Goldfinch 6
Gray Partridge 8Red-breasted Nuthatch 174Evening Grosbeak 1
Ring-necked Pheasant 23White-breasted Nuthatch 41House Sparrow 1323
Ruffed Grouse 2Pygmy Nuthatch 21
CW = Count WeekTotal Birds = 10,844


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