Hi VTBirders,

“Atypical” would be a good word to describe the 51st Plainfield Christmas
Bird Count. Warm temperatures leading up to the count and the absence of
snow likely played a role in the birds we encountered. While the number of
species seen (37) was higher than average, the total number of individuals
was rather low. Many of the “common” birds were sparse, and extremely low
counts were reported for many species including chickadees, nuthatches,
blue jays, and woodpeckers. With an abundance of open ground and hence
plenty of foraging area for birds, it is possible that the usual year-round
residents were dispersed across a larger area than normal, rather than
being concentrated at feeders, contributing to our abated tallies.

While most birds were hard to find, some appeared in record numbers. New
high counts were set for American Robin and Canada Goose, both of which
have likely been taking advantage of the mild weather. Other lingering
birds included a *White-throated Sparrow* and a *Red-winged Blackbird*,
both found visiting feeders during the count day. An immature *Herring Gull*,
the first on the count in 12-years, was also probably taking advantage of
the unusually large amount of open water in the count circle.

The crown jewel of this year’s CBC had to be a *GOLDEN EAGLE* observed near
Marshfield Mountain. Not only are Golden Eagles rare year-round, they are
especially rare outside of fall migration, which typically tapers off in
mid-November. This was the first Golden Eagle on the count in its 50-year

Preliminary results of the Plainfield CBC are shown below:

Canada Goose 830
Mallard 6
Hooded Merganser 3
Common Merganser 2
Ruffed Grouse 5
Wild Turkey 83
Bald Eagle 1
Red-tailed Hawk cw
Herring Gull 1
Rock Pigeon 77
Mourning Dove 44
Downy Woodpecker 20
Hairy Woodpecker 25
Pileated Woodpecker 2
Blue Jay 54
American Crow 175
Common Raven 14
Black-capped Chickadee 481
Tufted Titmouse 9
Red-breasted Nuthatch 25
White-breasted Nuthatch 23
Brown Creeper 5
Golden-crowned Kinglet 7
American Robin 27
European Starling 207
Cedar Waxwing 32
American Tree Sparrow 17
White-throated Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 35
Northern Cardinal 9
Red-winged Blackbird 1
Purple Finch 13
House Finch 14
Pine Siskin 61
American Goldfinch 266
Evening Grosbeak 18
House Sparrow 6

Good birding,
 - Larry

Larry Clarfeld
Environmental Educator
Youth Birding Coordinator

North Branch Nature Center
713 Elm St.
Montpelier, VT 05602
(802) 229-6206
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