Stevensville Bird Count Tops in Montana
The 52nd Annual Stevensville Christmas Bird Count tallied more species than any other Christmas bird count in Montana last month.
Compiler Dave Lockman, in an e-mail to participants, said that counters saw 13,729 birds from 86 different species. The species number ties the record for the Stevensville count and the total number of birds was over the 10 year-average.
The number of Red-tailed Hawks was 129, which is almost a 60 percent increase over the 2012 record of 81. There were also a near-record 61 bald eagles.
Other results: 1,692 Canada Geese, 711 Mallard Ducks, 1,216 California Quail, 1,133 Eurasian Collared Doves, 1,306 European Starlings, 794 Red-winged Blackbirds, 1,684 House Sparrows and 337 Mourning Doves.
There were Great Grey Owls, Great Horned Owls, Downy Woodpeckers, Bohemian and Cedar Waxwings and 91 Wild Turkeys. Unusual sightings included White-winged Crossbill, Western Screech Owl and Harris's Sparrow.
Lockman said 33 volunteers were part of the December 31 count, along with 29 feeder watchers.
Bird count totals are at the national Audubon website.
This year, the Stevensville Christmas bird count will December 30.