2014 Edmonds Christmas Bird Count

December 20, 2014

The Edmonds CBC, held Dec. 20, 2014, is located mainly in south Snohomish County, but also includes a 2.5-mile bite out of north King County and a small area on the SE corner of Whidbey Island. This was the 31st Edmonds CBC since 1984. 120 species were recorded on count day and one additional species (Greater White-Fronted Goose) during count week with a total of 36,460 individual birds observed by 87 field participants and 40 home feeder counters. Although the number of species was about the same (120 versus 121 last year), the total number of birds was down about 23.5 % (36,460 versus 47,670). No new species were added to the all-time Edmonds CBC list this year.

A full report of species seen, counts, and effort data for the 2014 Edmonds CBC is available at 2014 count by area. The location of each count area can be seen on the Edmonds CBC map.

The count day was very wet with steady rain / mist / drizzle and winds for much of the day and temperatures in the mid to upper 40’s. The adverse weather probably contributed to fewer field party hours 159 versus 167 last year (does not include home counts) and the lower number of individual birds observed. The marine waters boat trip was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions and may have resulted in missing White-winged Scoter and decreased marine counts over previous years.

High Counts
Looking just at the raw (un-normalized) count data, we had a number of record highs:
• Pelagic Cormorant – 55 vs. average of 17
• Band-tailed Pigeon – 124 vs. average of 26
• Anna’s Hummingbird – 134 vs. average of 22
• Pileated Woodpecker – 24 vs. average of 6
• Chestnut-backed Chickadee – 414 vs. average of 104
• Brown Creeper – 34 vs. average of 9
• Orange-Crowned Warbler – 7 vs. average of 1
• Red Crossbill – 210 vs. average of 47

When we normalized the counts by party hours and applied some basic statistics, the data show more consistent up trends and statistically high counts for this year for just four species:
• Anna's Hummingbird,
• Pileated Woodpecker
• Chestnut-backed Chickadee
• Brown Creeper

Species Missed this year
Four species and one sub-species of birds were missed this year while being seen at least half of the other years (16 out of 31 years) and all of these were seen in at least 2 of the 3 previous years (2011 – 2014).
• White-winged Scoter
• American Kestrel
• Sanderling
• California Gull
• Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)

Again, when we normalized the counts by party hours and applied some basic statistics, there were a couple of species that that were lower than normal:
• Great Blue Heron
• Red-tailed Hawk
• American Robin

Counting Crows
There is an impressive number of American Crows that pass through the count circle each morning and evening as they move to and from their roost site. This natural spectacle is best described as a “river of crows”. Efforts to count our most numerous bird species improved this year using protocol written by Dr. Douglas W. Wacker, lecturer at the UW Bothell. The largest evening diurnal movement was seen again moving south near the Bothell-Everett Highway (SR 527). During the 2013 CBC, nearly 10K birds were counted in this river of crows; during this CBC they numbered about 5200. Somewhat smaller movements were also seen moving SE from the Swamp and Scriber creek corridors, and more than 4K were seen moving NE along the shores of Lake Washington. The total count was over 10K, but at least one area on known movement was not covered.

Overall Impressions
Generally with all the development and shifting land use in the circle one might expect some decrease in diversity and numbers, but these trends are difficult to see and even harder to support with statistics due to small sample size and variability associated with this citizen science count.

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2012 results
2011 results