Rutland’s thirty-ninth Annual Christmas Bird Count
With nearly a foot of snow on the ground the forecast ofanother day of snow on Saturday, December 29, while welcomed by ski enthusiastswas of some concern to those who had planned and committed themselves toRutland’s 39th annual Christmas Bird Count. Well, snow all day it did as forecast, never-the-lessthe full roster of 8 teams took to the field while 5 feeder watchers from thecomfort of home tallied all and every bird bold enough to show itself or be heard.
Under the circumstances it was to be expected thatrelatively fewer miles would be traveled on foot in comparison to milestraveled by car. However, a nicediversity of species was observed, 49 to be exact only two species less thanthe running ten year average of 51. Sixthousand four hundred seventy-one individual birds were tallied but this markeda significant decrease from the 8,884 running ten year average.
Two new numerical records were set for the count, namely 78Common Raven and 775 Common Redpoll. Theformer attributed to a carcass upon which the ravens were feasting and the latterreflecting the implosion of the species into Vermont this winter. Unusual but not unique was a single GreatBlack Back Gull at the local transfer station, two Wilson’s Snipe in a drainageditch, a single Rusty Blackbird and a single White-winged Crossbill observed ata feeder.
At day’s end several brave souls made it to the countdown gatheringand potluck supper at the Proctor library but more importantly, home again! An elegant sufficiency of food appeared for abalanced meal while all 8 teams each had a representative to report the day’sobservations!
Well done Rutland and here’s to next year’s fortieth count.