Collected here are the results of Grayling’s 8th consecutive Christmas Bird Count. The Christmas Bird Count is a long-running census that provides a wealth of data regarding the trend of bird populations. Counts are conducted within a 15-mile diameter circle, and all individual birds that are detected get tallied. In fact, that’s part of why I like the CBC so much–because every bird matters, common and rare alike.
On December 19, 2020, Gordon Atkins, Calvin & Charlene Brennan, Nate Crane, Tom & Pat Gieseman, Mike Petrucha, Warren Whaley, and Matt Winkler, along with myself, ventured into the snowy roads and woodlands of the greater Grayling area. (And yes, everyone’s favorite Christmas Bird Counting Great Pyrenees, Moose Gieseman, also joined the day!)
Feeder counters this year were Gerry Casey, John Dickson, Mary Geary, Nancy Hatfield, Joyce Haxton, Beth Jensen, Rebecca Kurtzner, Julia Rourke, Gail Swope, Charlie Weaver, and Shannon Winkler. This is the most feeder counters ever in the count’s history, and their effort netted two (!) new species for Grayling’s cumulative CBC list: Wood Duck and Brown Thrasher. The thrasher, in particular, was an unexpected addition for our circle. One of the 2 American Robins, also new this year, was seen on a feeder count too.
Though many counters mentioned how quiet the day felt–in my section, 6, we even struggled to find chickadee flocks–the combined results are not bad at all. In fact, the 47 species we recorded is the second-highest ever for Grayling (just behind 2018’s 48). The four new species added this year (Wood Duck, American Wigeon, Brown Thrasher, and American Robin) bring the count’s cumulative, all-time species total to 74. For an inland Christmas Bird Count in northern Michigan, this is a great number that we all should be proud of.
All-time high counts were recorded for American Black Duck (19), Mallard (221), Tufted Titmouse (48), Red Crossbill (11), and Evening Grosbeak (81). Conversely, low counts were had for Bald Eagle (6), Brown Creeper (2), and American Goldfinch (37), and for the first time in the count’s history — despite pointed effort by some field-counting parties–Snow Bunting was not recorded.
This link below takes you to a spreadsheet of Grayling Christmas Bird Count results, both for 2020 and for all-time. The second sheet of this link (“Cumulative Grayling CBC Results”) will show you the results for each year the count has been conducted. Blue highlight denotes all-time low numbers, while yellow denotes all-time highs. “cw” refers to birds seen inside the count circle within the week of December 19th, but that were not actually seen during the Christmas Bird Count.
Thank you all for your participation, and I hope to see you again in 2021. Let’s hope we can have a tally dinner then, too! To further learn about Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count, visit https://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count