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Gunnison CBC

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  • Bill / Cheryl Day
    Gunnison Christmas Bird Count December 18th Usually the most outstanding thing about the Gunnison Christmas Bird Count is the cold. Indeed, when a participant
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 21, 2005
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      Gunnison Christmas Bird Count

      December 18th





      Usually the most outstanding thing about the Gunnison Christmas Bird Count
      is the cold. Indeed, when a participant from Montrose was asked why he came
      to Gunnison instead of staying Montrose Sunday and helping with that count,
      he replied with a big grin, "It's too hot down there!" Zero degree
      temperatures, gray skies, and lightly falling snow greeted 18 hardy birders
      who participated in the 42nd Gunnison CBC. However, we all agreed on one
      thing - it could have been much colder. Early season sub-zero temperatures,
      lack of open water, and widespread snow cover most likely contributed to the
      low number of birds found this year. As birders scattered to cover their
      territories, it often seemed there were more birders than birds around.



      This year's CBC turned up 47 species, which is a "low average" number for
      diversity. However, many of these species were represented by one bird. For
      example, counters were only able to find single individuals of Great Blue
      Heron, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, and Belted Kingfisher. Bald
      Eagles were present in average numbers, but only two Sharp-shinned Hawks,
      one Merlin, one Prairie Falcon, and a lone Red-tailed Hawk were seen.
      Rough-legged Hawks were nowhere to be seen.



      The number of individuals counted, 3,777, was average, kept high by good
      numbers of Rosy-finches, a Gunnison winter specialty, and birds that are
      well adapted to co-existing with humans, such as House Sparrows, European
      Starlings, American Crows, Black-billed Magpies, and Common Ravens.
      Interestingly, raven numbers, usually very high in Gunnison County during
      the winter, were down significantly this year. A newcomer to our area, the
      Eurasian-collared Dove, is doing well, increasing to 52 birds from 3 birds
      just two years ago.



      Other than the low numbers, the only other surprises this year were a single
      Eared Grebe, the first ever seen during the CBC, and 15 very hardy American
      Robins still hanging around.

      Lori Brummer
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