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Village Life
Rat-tat-tat! Pileated woodpecker at work. Fourteen of these were spotted during the recent Christmas Bird Count in Glen Helen and environs. (Image from Wikipedia)

Rat-tat-tat! Pileated woodpecker at work. Fourteen of these were spotted during the recent Christmas Bird Count in Glen Helen and environs. (Image from Wikipedia)

How many birds?

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The numbers are in from the annual Christmas Bird Count in Glen Helen and environs, held 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 3! (Those daylight hours mean few owls, whooo are nocturnal, ended up in the count.) While perhaps not quite counting every bird, the count provides a yearly snapshot of those birds who migrate through our region in the early winter, overwinter here or join us in calling Greene County their year-round home. Over time, that snapshot reveals fluctuations in local and regional bird populations, and provides valuable data about long-term trends, including climate change.

Our local count area is a circle with a 15-mile diameter spanning just north of Yellow Springs to Xenia. It includes Glen Helen, John Bryan State Park, Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve, a number of county parks, Beavercreek wetlands and all points in between. The count is organized by Nick Boutis, executive director of Glen Helen, who is also an enthusiastic participant.

You can read a “bird’s-eyewitness” account of this year’s event, published in the News on Jan. 7. And you can learn more about the history and significance of the Christmas Bird Count, a 116-year-old Audubon Society tradition that involves tens of thousands of “citizen scientists” from across the Americas.

And finally, without further fuss or flap-flap-flapping of wings, here are the tallies (keep reading to get to the totals):

4 Great Blue Heron
42 Turkey Vulture
28 Black Vulture
323 Canada Goose
31 Mallard
2 Ring-Necked Duck
1 Northern Harrier
5 Cooper’s Hawk
3 Red-shouldered Hawk
20 Red-tailed Hawk
4 American Kestrel
1 Pied-Billed Grebe
70 Sandhill Crane
103 Rock Pigeon
51 Mourning Dove
7 Ring-billed Gull
2 Eastern Screech-Owl
6 Belted Kingfisher
56 Red-bellied Woodpecker
7 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
73 Downy Woodpecker
4 Hairy Woodpecker
17 Northern Flicker
12 Pileated Woodpecker
37 Blue Jay
329 American Crow
4 Horned Lark
148 Carolina Chickadee
70 Tufted Titmouse
76 White-breasted Nuthatch
6 Brown Creeper
46 Carolina Wren
1 Winter Wren
12 Golden-crowned Kinglet
8 Eastern Bluebird
5 Hermit Thrush
683 American Robin
4 Northern Mockingbird
625 European Starling
5 Cedar Waxwing
4 Yellow-rumped Warbler
10 Eastern Towhee
45 American Tree Sparrow
2 Field Sparrow
2 Fox Sparrow
51 Song Sparrow
4 Swamp Sparrow
110 White-throated Sparrow
5 White-crowned Sparrow
72 Dark-eyed Junco
110 Northern Cardinal
3 House Finch
2 Pine Siskin
139 American Goldfinch
58 House Sparrow
3 other (duck species)

Grand Total: 3,551 individual birds, reflecting 56 species

Stay alert for next year’s count, held between mid-December and early January.

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How many birds?

by Audrey Hackett