2023 Breeding Bird Survey Highlights

June 5th through June 13th, 2023

This year’s breeding bird point count was again a wonderful time well spent out in the mitigation lands with a great group of volunteers. Meeting at 7:30 am each morning, we made our way around the project either by a small gas mule vehicle, walking, or driving cars. During the survey, a total of 53 stations were visited. These points mark a specific location and do not change from year to year. The Avenza App helps to guide us to each point using our GPS location.  At each point, all of the bird species that are seen and heard during a five-minute duration are counted. It is thrilling to hear Swainson’s Thrushes, Yellow-breasted Chats, and Black-headed Grosbeaks singing together very close by in the riparian areas. Grasshopper Sparrows, Western Meadowlarks, and Redwing Blackbirds sing in unison out in the grassland meadows while Marsh Wrens, Common Yellowthroats, and American Bitterns sing (at least their version of singing) in the wetland areas. There were many more birds heard calling and singing than seen, so it was important to keep ears and binoculars sharp. This is the reason why it is such a good thing that there were volunteers to help, more eyes and ears to listen and look. We stayed focused and traveled throughout the mitigation lands as efficiently as possible, gathering data at each point. In between stations, we also uploaded our bird observations to Ebird, an online database that provides real-time data about bird distribution and abundance. Responsibilities were delegated amongst the hard-working volunteers. One person recorded the bird list, another was the scribe for each point, another used the iPad GPS to navigate to the points, and one person ran the timer. All of us helped with the calling out of the birds seen and heard at each station. There were times, especially along the riparian corridors, when we heard a wide variety of different birds singing and other times in the grasslands when only a few species were heard or seen. Each day there were surprises such as a Bald Eagle flying over and a Night Heron flushing out of the creek. We are so grateful to all our volunteers and could not do the survey without them! This year Mike Curry, Keith Leland, Ursula and David Partch, Jessica Reid, and Chuck Vaughn came and helped with the survey.