Backyard bird count numbers reflect weather patterns

Looking at the results from this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count in Clearwater shows some interesting trends, according to one of the local organizers

Looking at the results from this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count in Clearwater shows some interesting trends, according to one of the local organizers.

“The drop in birds for 2011 and 2009 fits the cold and snow we experienced both years,” he said. “The decline in numbers of birds compared to last year seems primarily due to a drop in pine siskins, 4013 to 1566, and common redpolls, 1145 to 114.”

He added, “Of course you must relate such figures to the number of checklists reporting the species and on average siskins were down seven birds per checklist while redpolls dropped by five.”

The organizer noted that last year Clearwater was the only location reporting over 1,000 common redpolls, but it didn’t even make the top 100 this year. Eight other locations across North America were over 1,000.

Interested people can explore the GBBC results at http://gbbc.birdsource.org/gbbcApps/results where you can view a species over North America or compare maps for two years.

For example, pine siskins show greater numbers throughout North America. Common redpolls made a shift into southeastern Canada and northeastern states. Evening grosbeaks have an interesting pattern over the continent – a mass over British Columbia and the northwestern states with a thin streak trailing off over the middle of the prairies into another mass in southern Quebec and the Maritimes.

 

“Appreciation for promoting the event goes to the Clearwater Library, Forest House, Home Hardware, Friendship Soup Publications, Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital, Clearwater Natural Foods, RONA, and of course The Times,” said the organizer.