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Allen Bird Club May Count

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Janice Zepko

2024 May Count Summary

There were 16 teams and 32 observers out in Hampden County territories for the count held on May 17-18.  The weather was cool in the lower 50s on Friday evening with 5 mph breeze from the NW.  Saturday early morning was on the cold side, with temps in the low 30s for those who owled, reaching 50 by 9:00 a.m. and climbing to a high of 68 by mid-afternoon.  The wind was negligible, from 0-5 mph—a good birding day all the way around.  Together the teams recorded 137 species, which was seven less than last year, but two more than the average counted in the last ten years.  At 9,783 individuals, we were ~340 birds above the ten-year average.

As is typical, most of the common species were near their recent or long-term average, but a few were noticeably higher.  In parentheses is the total for 2024, followed by the past 10-year average:  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (14-8), Eastern Wood-Pewee (48-21), Great Crested Flycatcher (90-55), Red-eyed Vireo (164-95) and House Finch (92-66).  Other species reached an all-time max since 1963.  In parentheses is the total for 2024, the all-time max, followed by the 10-year average:  Canada Goose (563-411), Mute Swan (32-7), Carolina Wren (90-30), Eastern Bluebird (27-9), Fish Crow (17-6), and Raven (15-8).

We did not add any new species to the May Count this year, but we did have a few species that had not been counted for several years.  The date following the species is when it was last recorded on the May Count:  Red-headed Woodpecker (2017), Cerulean Warbler (2007), and Purple Finch (2010).

There were quite a few species with low counts this year.  In parentheses is the total for 2024, followed by the 10-year max, and the 10-year average: Solitary Sandpiper (4-36-19), Least Sandpiper (10-63-28), Ring-billed Gull (2-89-39), White-breasted Nuthatch (27-88-48), Northern Parula (9-193-51), Magnolia Warbler (7-53-26), Black-throated Blue Warbler (1-73-25), Yellow-rumped Warbler (21-174-70), and White-throated Sparrow (1-219-25).

Noticeable misses this year were Great Horned Owl, only missed two other times in the last 50 years and Eastern Meadowlark.  

Thanks to all who spent many hours in the field, especially the teams of Janice Z and Dave M, who put in 15 or more long hours of effort, and Dave M’s team, who always captures the most species, 108 this year.  The variety of habitats in certain territories lends itself to finding higher counts and unusual species, and some teams managed to find a species or two or more that no other team identified on the count.  My team got Red-shouldered Hawk, Joseph S and Terri S picked up Cooper’s Hawk and Purple Finch, Ben H added American Kestrel and Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Vince and Cathy Y found Nashville Warbler, White-throated Sparrow and Semi-palmated Plover, Harvey and Craig A came up with Broad-winged Hawk, Upland Sandpiper and Grasshopper Sparrow, and Steve S found Red-headed Woodpecker and Cerulean Warbler.  To finish, I’ll rattle off all the species Dave M and Kim J added to the count this year—Virginia Rail, Hooded Merganser, Sora, Black-throated Blue, Wilson’s and Worm-eating Warblers, Peregrine Falcon, Marsh Wren and Dark-eyed Junco.  Though these teams stand-out, EVERY team that participates contributes to covering a piece of the pie and all efforts are sincerely appreciated.

Click below to view or download complete count results.

2024 May Count Results