[midvalleybirds] Salem Christmas Bird Count Summary

Tim Johnson tim.the.fisherman at gmail.com
Fri Jan 3 15:43:28 PST 2020

Hi all,

With 29 teams in the field and 42 feeder counts, it has taken a little
while to pull together the results of the Salem Christmas Bird Count.
Here's a summary:

We had very nice weather for the Saturday, December 14 Salem CBC. We also
had a good turnout for the field teams with 72 participants on 29 teams,
which included 7 new participants. We had five new sector leaders this
year, including a late substitute for sector one. Thanks to Michael Babbitt
for filling in for Ray and Stephanie due to a emergency.  We also had 42
feeder counters.

In all, this year we recorded 109 species, which is 6 more than the most
recent 20 year average of 103 species. The highest number of species for
the Salem CBC was recorded in 1998 (with a count of 113).

This was the 57th year for the Salem CBC. With such a long history of
collecting CBC data, it’s not often we find new species, and we didn’t find
any this year either. However, we did have some record high totals for a
few species:

 - Wild Turkey: 16. This is only the fourth year we’ve recorded this
species. 12 was the previous high, set last year. The turkey numbers appear
to be on the rise in Salem.

 - Eurasian Collared-Dove: 135. This species was first observed on the 2011
Salem CBC. Their numbers are growing, which is probably no surprise to
anyone living in or around Salem.

  - Black Phoebe: 5. This is an uncommon flycatcher for the Salem CBC. This
is only the 4th year they’ve been reported, all in recent years.

  - Lesser Goldfinch: 192. The previous record was 146 in 2001.

Other uncommon findings:

  - Anna’s Hummingbirds, 149. The number of Anna’s Hummingbirds has risen
significantly since they were first reported for the Salem CBC in 1968.
Their numbers remained relatively low (under 20) until 2003 when the
numbers began rising sharply.  For the 2017 count, we had a total of 164,
which remains the record high. This year is the second highest count.

  - Northern Flickers, 65. Northern Flicker numbers have been falling
sharply over the past 50 years. This is a nation-wide phenomenon.
Nationally, the average decline has been around 1-1/2 percent per year,
with a national cumulative decline of 50%. Our local flicker population has
also been declining significantly since the mid 1960s. This is a troubling
trend since cavity-nesting birds such as bluebirds, Wood Ducks and
hummingbirds commonly use cavities excavated by Northern Flickers for

  - A female Red-breasted Merganser was reported on one of the gravel ponds
near the south end of Lancaster Rd. While they are common on the coast in
winter, Red-breasted Mergansers are rare in the Salem area any time of
year. However, this isn’t the first time a Red-breasted Merganser has been
reported for the Salem CBC. Two were reported for the Salem CBC in 1998.

  - A female Common Yellowthroat was found during Count Week. This is a
rare bird this time of year for our area. It's the first time one has been
recorded for the Salem CBC, albeit as a Count Week bird.

There are many people who deserve recognition for their hard support on the
2019 Salem CBC, too many to name individually. However, I’d like to mention
a couple people. For many years, Rich and Dell Ford have hosted the
Countdown potluck gathering at their home in Keizer. This year was no
exception. They prepared a delicious lasagna for the Countdown potluck,
which was complimented with tasty hor deours, fresh baked bread, salads and
desserts. Incidentally, Salem holds its countdown gathering on the day
following the count. This allows us to do some additional evening owling,
get a good night's sleep, and come to the Countdown potluck cleaned up,
refreshed, and with lots of good food to share.

Thanks to the many who lead teams, organized sectors, participated in the
field work and counted birds at their feeders. The Salem CBC couldn’t
happen without this support. Special thank to Mark Unger who volunteered to
do all the data entry for the count, which with the number of teams and
people involved is a very tedious and cumbersome job.
Tim Johnson

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