Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Bird Count in the Bronx

One young Red-tailed Hawk.

For the East Bronx section of Bronx-Westchester Christmas Bird Count (CBC), I birded the southern zone of Pelham Bay Park with a group of five people. We covered about 2.5 miles of distance (not including backtracking) in over five hours. Our goal was to identify and count every single bird to submit as part of a larger citizen science effort to track bird populations and distribution.

Early light at Pelham Bay Park landfill, part of the southern zone of the park.

One of the highlights of covering the southern zone is entering the generally-closed-to-the-public landfill area. With its grassland-like habitat, it always holds promise for interesting birds.

New York City landmarks, just part of the scenery!

CBC from home: How many species are present? How many of each species?

Two American Tree Sparrows.

We observed 1,123 total birds, representing 45 species. The top five most common species were Canada Goose, Brant (goose), Mourning Dove, Bufflehead, and White-throated Sparrow. 72% of all the birds we observed came from those top five species.

One Northern Harrier flies over the bay toward the landfill.
All species count! The CBC helps provide data on common
species like the Dark-eyed Junco. We found 63 Dark-eyed Juncos
in the southern zone of Pelham Bay Park.

The most surprising find of the day was... a non-find. In 5+ hours of observation, we did not see or hear a single House Sparrow... in an urban park... where we normally see lots of House Sparrows. How is that even possible?!?!

Full eBird checklist:

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