FaceBook

Search

Bird Counts

2020 Wahkiakum Bird Count Results

By Andrew Emlen

The Wahkiakum Christmas Bird Count circle straddles the Columbia River, including Cathlamet, Puget Island, Elochoman Valley, and parts of the Skamokawa Valleys in Wahkiakum County, Washington; and Westport, Brownsmead, and Knappa in Clatsop County, Oregon. The Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge and most of the Lewis and Clark Refuge are also within the circle.

For the 23rd annual Wahkiakum CBC on December 29, 2020, 19 volunteers counted 60,501 individual birds representing 109 species (there were two additional count week species). This is close to average - pretty good, considering that we had half a dozen fewer participants than usual.

The most abundant species this year was Cackling Goose at 19,750, followed by Greater Scaup (14,531), European Starling (4235), and American Coot (3297). Unusual species include the first White-tailed Kite on the count since 2012.

When I started the Wahkiakum count in 1998 White-tailed Kites had been expanding their range northward and were regular here through the early and mid 2000's, with the population peaking at 11 for the count circle in 2006. Their population in Washington plummeted after the heavy snow of 2008-9, and our numbers for the Wahkiakum count dropped to 4, then 2, then 1 for 2011 and 2012 before they were gone. The present individual can still be found along North Welcome Slough Road, Puget Island, where many birders have gone to view it. Puget Island also had three Turkey Vultures on this year's count - this is the fourth year in a row Turkey Vultures have wintered on Puget Island, after no previous Wahkiakum CBC records. 

New high counts were set this year for eight species (for each I have this year's numbers, followed by the previous high count in parentheses):

  • Mourning Dove 66 (64)
  • Northern Flicker 67 (64)
  • Black Phoebe 12 (11)
  • Horned Lark 58 (44)
  • White-crowned Sparrow 139 (97)
  • White-throated Sparrow 9 (6)
  • Western Meadowlark 65 (41)
  • Brown-headed Cowbird 22 (13)

Notable among these are the large number of "Streaked" Horned Larks. Since this subspecies was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in October 2013, the Army Corps of Engineers has been managing their dredge spoil islands to maintain habitat for the larks, and it appears to be helping them.

Also notable is the increasing number of Black Phoebes, which have been expanding their range northward and have been breeding successfully in Wahkiakum and Clatsop counties in recent years.

 

Snow Goose  3
Cackling Goose  19,750
Canada Goose  565
Trumpeter Swan  11
Tundra Swan  75
Trumpeter/Tundra Swan  71
Wood Duck  2
Cinnamon Teal  1
Northern Shoveler  214
Gadwall  235
Eurasian Wigeon 1
American Wigeon 1130
Mallard  944
Northern Pintail  1419
Green-winged Teal  1169
Canvasback  12
Ring-necked Duck  100
Greater Scaup  14,531
Lesser Scaup  625
Greater/Lesser Scaup 4114
Surf Scoter  10
Bufflehead  582
Common Goldeneye  12
Hooded Merganser  78
Common Merganser 99
Red-breasted Merganser 2
Ruddy Duck 4
duck sp. 45
Ruffed Grouse 1
grouse sp. 1
Pied-billed Grebe 34
Horned Grebe 4
Red-necked Grebe 2
Western Grebe 5
Rock Pigeon 12
Eurasian Collared-Dove  108
Mourning Dove  66
Anna's Hummingbird  16
Virginia Rail  5
American Coot  3297
Killdeer  3
Least Sandpiper 2
Wilson's Snipe (count week)
Spotted Sandpiper 4
Greater Yellowlegs 13
Mew Gull  2
Ring-billed Gull  3
Western Gull  4
Glaucous-winged Gull  18
Western X Glaucous-winged Gull hybrid 17
Larus sp.  6
Red-throated Loon  1
Pacific Loon  1
Common Loon 1
Double-crested Cormorant 119
Great Blue Heron  56
Turkey Vulture  3
White-tailed Kite  1
Northern Harrier  27
Cooper's Hawk  1
Bald Eagle  91
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 64
Barn Owl  2
Western Screech-owl 1
Great Horned Owl  4
Northern Pygmy-owl 1
Belted Kingfisher 20
Red-breasted Sapsucker  2
Downy Woodpecker  17
Hairy Woodpecker  6
Northern Flicker  67
woodpecker sp. 2
American Kestrel 35
Merlin  4
Peregrine Falcon  4
Black Phoebe  12
Steller's Jay  71
California Scrub-jay  116
American Crow  482
Common Raven  111
Horned Lark  58
Black-capped Chickadee  182
Chestnut-backed Chickadee  24
Bushtit  14
Brown Creeper  10
Pacific Wren  29
Marsh Wren  35
Bewick's Wren  11
American Dipper  1
Wrentit  2
Golden-crowned Kinglet  71
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  133
Varied Thrush  112
Hermit Thrush  2
American Robin  300
European Starling  4235
Cedar Waxwing  6
American Pipit  1
House Finch  41
Purple Finch 8
Pine Siskin  681
American Goldfinch 14
Fox Sparrow  209
Dark-eyed Junco  457
White-crowned Sparrow  139
Golden-crowned Sparrow  415
White-throated Sparrow 9
Song Sparrow  24
Lincoln's Sparrow  24
Spotted Towhee  126
Western Meadowlark  65
Red-winged Blackbird  750
Brown-headed Cowbird  22
Brewer's Blackbird  568
Orange-crowned Warbler  2
 
Total: 60,501
participants: 19
Hours by car: 43.1
Miles by car: 202.9
Hours on foot: 25.25
Miles on foot: 24.65
Hours by kayak: 4.5
Miles by kayak: 11
Hours by motorboat: 5
Miles by motorboat: 17
Total hours: 78.85
Total miles: 255.55

Upcoming Events

Jun 12, 2021
Board Meeting
black-crowned_night_heron.jpg