2016 Edmonds Christmas Bird Count

December 17, 2016

The 33rd Edmonds CBC was held on December 17, 2016. The weather was cold with a low of 20 and high of 31. Light snow started at sunrise and continued until about noon, winds were calm. The cold weather had a big impact on the number of birds seen as the marshes and ponds were all frozen forcing large numbers of dabbling ducks out of the circle. The cold weather also kept the passerines tucked into sheltered spots instead of out foraging in the open. Slick roads and trails caused some problems and limited time in the field. With good moonlight and cold, calm, dry conditions in the pre-dawn hours, owling was more successful than normal.

This year we had record participation — 94 people in 32 parties in the field, including four crow counting teams, and 74 people counting at 59 feeder stations. This is up from 80 field participants in 32 parties and 48 feeder counters at 37 feeder stations last year.

We tallied 126 species, with an additional 8 count week species vs. 129 plus 3 count week species last year. We counted 34,407 individual birds vs. 49,566 last year. The boat crew cruised the marine waters and had good viewing conditions despite the cold. UW Bothell fielded 4 teams of 2 counters each to count our impressive 'rivers of crows' as they fly to their night roost at the UW-Bothell campus. The evening crow count totaled 14,285 American Crows.

We had high counts of:

  • Wood Duck (146),
  • Common Merganser (242),
  • Brandt's Cormorant (30),
  • Killdeer (191),
  • Heermann's Gull (3),
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove (46),
  • Barred Owl (11),
  • Red-breasted Sapsucker (30),
  • Hairy Woodpecker (32),
  • Pileated Woodpecker (32),
  • American Goldfinch (171).

Misses included:

  • California Quail - recorded on count week but seen on 70% of past counts,
  • Red-throated Loon - seen on 70% of past counts,
  • Western Gull - recorded on count week,
  • Herring Gull - count week bird seen on 79% of past counts,
  • Thayer's Gull - recorded on count week,
  • and Western Meadowlark - recorded on count week.

The unusual bird was the continuing Palm Warbler at the Edmonds waterfront at Marina Beach Park. This bird has been in the area since late November and continues to be seen.

Waterfowl numbers were impacted by the freezing weather and loss of habitat. Snow Goose numbers fell from 2,191 last year to just 23. Large tracts of farmland in the Snohomish valley were converted from row crops and turf farms into berry fields in 2016 limiting their habitat. The cold weather moved Wood Ducks out of hiding and into the open deeper water allowing them to be counted. We saw statistically higher numbers of many of the common backyard birds. This is most likely due to the increased number of feeder counters.

For a full report of species seen, counts, and effort data for the 2016 Edmonds CBC, as well as additional information such as results from previous years and a description of our CBC areas can be found on the Pilchuck CBC web page at.

Many thanks to our steadfast field participants, feeder counters, crow counters, and boat party. A special thanks to Linda for hosting the tally pot-luck and her homemade soups and bread. Bob and Rick truly appreciate your effort and dedication.

Next year we will conduct the Edmonds CBC on December 16, 2017. Please consider participating the Great Backyard Bird Count sponsored by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon on February 17-20.