On Saturday, Dec. 19, 11 birders spent a little over 46 combined hours in the field looking for birds on the 40th John Day Christmas Bird Count. In addition, there were three feeder watchers that reported their sightings. The weather was moderate this year with temperatures generally above freezing under overcast skies.

A slightly above average number of species and individual birds were seen this year. As usual, there were some highlights. Highlights included a Northern Pintail, which has been found on two previous counts; an Osprey in John Day, which has been on only one other count; a Red-breasted Sapsucker for the second time in 40 years; two Blue Jays in Mt Vernon, the third time for this species; and an astounding number of Mountain Bluebirds. The bluebirds have been found on the count three times before with a high count of two individuals. This year, 100 were counted!

Special thanks go to the Holmstrom, Lemons, Mullin and Crown (Carter) Ranches, and the Pikes for allowing access to their properties, and to Iron Triangle for allowing access to the Grant Western mill site.

Participants were Mike Bohannon, Susan Church, Karen Jacobs, Barb Miller-Sohr, Larry Sohr, Clarence and Marilyn O’Leary, Azadae Soupir, Jamison Soupir, Jim Soupir and Tom Winters, with Anne Frost, Eva Harris and Ryan McKnab keeping track of their yard birds.

Birds seen: Canada Goose (131), Trumpeter Swan (3), Wood Duck (17), Gadwall (2), American Wigeon (5), Mallard (125), Northern Pintail (1), Ring-necked Duck (5), Green-winged Teal (36), Hooded Merganser (18), California Quail (406), Wild Turkey (155), Pied-billed Grebe (2), Great Blue Heron (13), Osprey (1), Northern Harrier (7), Golden Eagle (3), Sharp-shinned Hawk (4), Cooper’s Hawk (5), Bald Eagle (17), Red-tailed Hawk (47), Rough-legged Hawk (45), Virginia Rail (1), American Coot (4), Rock Pigeon (40), Eurasian Collared-Dove (257), Mourning Dove (59), Barn Owl (2), Great Horned Owl (3), Belted Kingfisher (9), Red-breasted Sapsucker (1), Downy Woodpecker (7), Hairy Woodpecker (5), Northern Flicker (19), American Kestrel (13), Loggerhead Shrike (1), Northern Shrike (2), Steller’s Jay (2), Blue Jay (2), California Scrub Jay (30), Black-billed Magpie (81), American Crow (8), Common Raven (80), Black-capped Chickadee (25), Mountain Chickadee (24), Red-breasted Nuthatch (10), Brown Creeper (1), Pacific Wren (2) Marsh Wren (1), American Dipper (4), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (15), Mountain Bluebird (100), Townsend’s Solitaire (42), Hermit Thrush (2), American Robin (3,641), European Starling (604), Bohemian Waxwing (2), Cedar Waxwing (118), Dark-eyed Junco – Oregon (250) and slate-colored (5), White-crowned Sparrow (14), Song Sparrow (5), Spotted Towhee (1), House Finch (37), Cassin’s Finch (21), Pine Siskin (9), Lesser Goldfinch (17), American Goldfinch (16) and House Sparrow (123).

Only one species was seen during count week (the three days prior and after the count day) that was not seen on the count day, that being some Bushtits.

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