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Bird observers treated to special sights

Temporary rules eliminating car pooling and demanding social distancing did little to deter the 78th Warren Christmas Bird Count.

Right at average, four dozen birders were in the field making a valuable contribution to the 121st Audubon Christmas Bird Count, one of the longest and most valuable strings of data available to ornithologists.

Several observers were treated to special sightings this year.

Because of changes for this year, 37 teams were in the field, surpassing the old record of 33 teams and a 10-year average of 26 teams. They identified 65 bird species, surprisingly above the 10-year average of 60 species. Total birds identified, 6,776, also was above average.

Three red crossbill marked the first ever sighting of this winter species in the Warren Count. Normally an inhabitant of far northern forests, it does make occasional southern treks.

Another new bird added to the Warren Count listing is the black duck x mallard hybrid. Interbreeding with the mallard has been considered a major threat to the black duck.

An all-time record was tied with 19 eastern bluebird sighted.

Nine sharp-shinned hawk set a new record. A new high was set with 461 American crow. A tie for second highest count was established with 16 common raven. Average is six raven.

Commonly seen birds, at least 15 occurrences, which were not seen this year include pied-billed grebe, tundra swan, mute swan, wood duck, common goldeneye, ruddy duck, rough-legged hawk, ring-necked pheasant, American coot, herring gull, horned lark, winter wren, ruby-crowned kinglet, yellow-rumped warbler, common grackle, purple finch, common redpoll, field sparrow and snow bunting.

Field observers were Ian Ashbaugh, Jim Berry, Mike Bleech, Greg Burkett, Becky Costello, Brian Devore, Dale Dickerson, Sherry Griffiths, Sylvia Grisez, Rod Henry, Colter Johnson, Ron Johnson, Alejandra Lewandowski, Bob Long, Kathy Long, Ruth Lundin, Greg Lyle, Pam Lyle, Greg Morell, Marge Neel, Elizabeth Nicholson, Hanna Nicholson, Jeremy Nicholson, Ken Nicholson, Roseanna Nicholson, John Nobles, Tim Olsen, Nicole Phillips, Bill Presner, Deb Presner, Cindy Price, Dave Rigg, John Shultz, Bob Shodi, Forest Simplicio, Gianna Simplicio, Megan Simplicio, Randy Sliter, Terry Steffan, Scott Stoleson, Zach Sturdevant, Travis Suckow, Jeff Tome, Mike Toole, Tina Toole, Charles Vevers, Don Watts, Don Worley and Susie Zimmerman.

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