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Audubon: Weather impacts 2021 Warren Christmas bird count

Unusually mild weather during the transition period from late fall to early winter had area bird feeder watchers wondering where all of the birds had gone.

Bird numbers were, and still are, low this winter. There has been no weather to push the usual winter birds south into the area from the Arctic and Subarctic breeding grounds.

Waterfowl numbers seem down, but the reason for this is that the fall migrants are already farther south, and there is no ice to the north which would normally push ducks onto the Allegheny River. Also, with no ice in this area and exceptionally high water levels in wetlands, waterfowl that are in this area are widely scattered.

Warren Christmas Bird Count compiler Mike Toole reported, “The weather before the count and on count day resulted in a low count for total birds, 3,510, but we did well with the number of species, 60. Our total bird species was lower than 2019 when we had a similar situation.

“It is evident that there is a decreasing trend in the total number of birds counted during the past 10 to 15 years. At the same time the number of species observed and the number of counters has been stable.”

Surprises were few in this count. A northern harrier, seldom seen locally during the Christmas Bird Count, was spotted for the second consecutive year. Mallard and Canada goose numbers were very low. Five fox sparrows tied the most ever seen during the Warren count.

Field observers for the 2021 Warren count were Ian Ashbaugh, Kai Ashbaugh, Andrew Bucchetti, Mike Bleech, Greg Burkett, Rachel Check, Dale Dickerson, Sherry Griffiths, Sylvis Grisez, Dawn Henry, Rod Henry, Colter Johnson, Ron Johnson, Lara Larson, Alejandra Lewandowski, Bob Long, Kathy Long, Ruth Lundin, Greg Lyle, Andrew Meyers, Greg Morell, Marjorie Neel, Elizabeth Nicholson, Hannah Nicholson, Roseanna Nicholson, Jeremy Nicholson, John Nobles, Tim Olsen, Cindy Price, Martha Rogas, Dave Rigg, John Schultz, Bob Shodi, Terry Steffan, Scott Stoleson, Zach Sturdevant, Travis Suckow, Jeff Tome, Mike Toole, Tina Toole, Charles Vevers, Don Watts, Don Worley and Susie Zimmerman.

Feeder Watchers included Lucinda Brecht, Mel Freeborough, Pat King, Gloria Lindell, Phil Nickerson and Rick Lyle.

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