Christmas Bird Count

The Christmas Bird Count is the longest-running citizen science project in our nation, and in Homer it is always held on the first Saturday in the window (Dec. 14th to Jan. 5th).

The center of the 15-mile-diameter count circle is the intersection of Kachemak Drive and the Spit Rd. The circle extends east to Fritz Creek, south past the end of the Spit, west to the mouth of Diamond Creek and to the north where there are few roads. We do not go out in boats for our count.

Participants meet at 8:30 am at IOVC for coffee/tea/breakfast foods, get assigned to teams and areas, and then go out to count all the daylight hours. At 4:30 teams return and compile results and enjoy a warm potluck supper.

A few days before the event, Dave Erikson always teaches a class on “Winter Bird Identification”. This class is valuable for new birders as well as being an excellent opportunity for more experienced birders to brush up on what birds are in Homer in the winter.

2016 Christmas Bird Count Results

 

Homer’s Christmas Bird Count (12-17-16)

FINAL REPORT

Forty two volunteers participated in Homer’s annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count, five watching feeders in their own yard and the others out in the field. The weather was not too cooperative with icy walking, limited visibility for most of the day and resulting decreased available daylight hours, but many were expressing the same thought, “We’ve seen much worse!”

A total of 64 species were seen on the Count Day (Saturday, December 17). Highlights included a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW found at a feeder near Crittenden St., a BELTED KINGFISHER found in Beluga Slough near the culvert from the lake, and a single SANDERLING found among the ROCK SANDPIPERS on the Homer Spit. CHUKARS, a colorful gamebird related to a pheasant, were found at a residence out East End Rd, though possibly may not count as an official species due to their probable domestic escapee status.

Three additional species were seen during the Count Week (three days before and three days after Count Day): SNOW BUNTING, MERLIN, and GREAT-HORNED OWL.

There were 10,492 individual birds counted. Most numerous species were MALLARDS (3422), ROCK SANDPIPERS (1700), and COMMON GOLDENEYE (820). Only one COMMON MURRE was seen this year, compared to the die-off that was developing at this time last year when over 200 were counted. (In winter, murres are typically out at sea instead of here in the bay.)

A big thanks to all the volunteers who participated, to the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge for letting us use their space for our meeting and potluck, the local Kachemak Bay Birders, and to Dave Erikson for coordinating yet another Christmas Bird Count. It was indeed a Great Day to Bird!

 

2015 Christmas Bird Count results

Summary provided by Dave Erikson:

What a fantastic Christmas Bird Count here in Homer!  There were 66 species seen and three of these species had never been seen before on a Christmas Bird Count:Red-breasted Sapsucker, Anna’s Hummingbird and Ancient Murrelet.  During the Count Week (which is three days before and three days after the Count Day), an additional nine species were found, including a Great Blue Heron and a Chestnut-backed Chickadee, both very uncommon on this side of the Bay. Participants, including myself, did their best during the short daylight hours searching hard and long to find the latter two on the Count Day itself, as they had been seen the previous few days and would have been wonderful finds.

Nearly 8000 birds were counted in all. The most numerous species were Rock Sandpipers (2000), Pine Siskin (871), and Black Scoter (845); also hundreds of Mallards, Common Mergansers, Pelagic Cormorants, Common Murre, American Robins, Black-capped Chickadees, Northwestern Crows and Glaucous-winged Gulls. Species of note were six European Starlings, White-throated Sparrow, Townsend’s Solitaire, and—love them or not—there were 13 Ring Necked Pheasants (last year only one could be found).

The weather cooperated and the snow that was predicted thankfully did not fall.  This was a huge help although the heavy clouds meant the day was very short.  A big thank you to over thirty volunteers who participated, plus other feeder watchers.  Thank you to Dave Erikson as coordinator of the Count; this was the 39th consecutive Christmas Bird Count he has coordinated here in Homer! And a big thank you to Islands and Ocean Visitor Center for allowing us to use their wonderful facility.  

2013 Christmas Bird Count Final Report from Dave Erikson

The final CBC report from Dave Erikson is finished . We got 54 species for the day and then an additional 5 species for the Count Week.

What we found: HARLEQUIN DUCK, SURF SCOTER, WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, BLACK SCOTER, LONG-TAILED DUCK, BUFFLEHEAD, COMMON GOLDENEYE, COMMON MERGANSER, RING-NECKED PHEASANT, RED-THROATED LOON, COMMON LOON, HORNED GREBE, RED-NECKED GREBE, PELAGIC CORMORANT, BALD EAGLE, NORTHERN GOSHAWK, ROCK SANDPIPER, MEW GULL, HERRING GULL, GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, COMMON MURRE, murrelet sp., ROCK PIGEON, DOWNY WOODPECKER, HAIRY WOODPECKER, NORTHERN SHRIKE, GRAY JAY, STELLER’S JAY, BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE, NORTHWESTERN CROW, COMMON RAVEN, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, BOREAL CHICKADEE, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, BROWN CREEPER, PACIFIC WREN, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, AMERICAN ROBIN, VARIED THRUSH, BOHEMIAN WAXWING, CEDAR WAXWING, AMERICAN TREE SPARROW, FOX SPARROW, SONG SPARROW, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW, DARK-EYED JUNCO, SNOW BUNTING, GRAY-CROWNED ROSY-FINCH, PINE GROSBEAK, PINE SISKIN, RUSTIC BUNTING, MOURNING DOVE.

Count Week species : GREAT HORNED OWL, NORTHERN HARRIER, HARLAN’S HAWK, MARBLED MURRELET, PIGEON GUILLEMOT.

The largest numbers were BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS (1027), NORTHWESTERN CROW (372), and BLACK SCOTER (360). A total of 3578 individual birds were counted.