Approximately eight thousand Bohemian waxwings were tallied during the 118th Audubon Christmas Bird Count, which is the largest bird study in the world. The scientists released the results Friday.
More precisely, 7,857 Bohemian waxwings were counted by thousands of volunteers who reported 38 species and 20,640 birds. Although the number of Bohemian waxwings is solid, it is far from the 2009 record of 22,245 specimens.
Also, in 1984, the volunteers counted 52 species. According to Thede Tobish, a volunteer who’s been participating in the Christmas Bird Count since 1980, Bohemian waxwings among the top species every year.
He adds that the birds leave after they deplete the berries. Regarding other species, the volunteers counted 22 common mergansers, five great horned owls, 328 boreal chickadees, 449 red-breasted nuthatches, 30 brown creepers, one Pacific wren, 45 American dippers, 1,084 European starlings, and 2,290 black-capped chickadees.
It is worth mentioning that the scientists spotted for the first time in the history of the Christmas Bird Count an American kestrel and a song sparrow. Other volunteers are happy that mallard ducks are included in the annual bird count as well.
The Christmas Bird Count was first organized in 1900 thanks to the efforts of Frank Chapman, a renowned ornithologist. Every year, the teams used to gather to hunt birds. Fortunately, Chapman came up with the idea that the birds should be counted not taken down.
As such, the participants put the guns aside and grabbed their binoculars. A limited number of volunteers are designated in 15-mile diameter areas, known as count circles. Since 1900, the National Audubon Society has developed a comprehensive database containing valuable info on thousands of bird species.
More than one thousand volunteers participated in the Minnesota Bird Count this year. In time, the scientists in Minnesota gathered information on more than 8.5 million birds and 201 species.
Based on the estimates, a total of 76,669 volunteers participated in the 2016 Christmas Bird Count. Also, they were divided into 2,505 groups designated throughout North America, Latin America, the Pacific Islands, and Bermuda.
The volunteers tallied around 58,9 million birds this year and 2,607 bird species, thus setting a record. These birds account for one-quarter of the world’s avifauna. The Audubon Christmas Bird Count will continue next year too, as scientists hope to find out more about the bird species in the United States.