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2021 Christmas Bird Count results

Special thanks to Tony Licata for organizing the Christmas Bird Count again this year and compiling the following report. It was a great year! For more information or if you are interested in volunteering for next year’s count, contact Tony at

Thank you all for helping on the 2021 Christmas Bird Count on December 18th.

Some interesting observations:

Due to later migration, lingering COVID19-19 pandemic and partly cloudy skies with breezy winds, our total count was  DOWN to 12053, a 47% decrease  compared to 22865 in 2020; 16446 in 2019;  22330 in 2018;  19,247 in 2017; 21,266 in 2016;  23,272 in 2015.  The decrease  in numbers in 2021 was due to  a 99% decrease in Lesser Scaup 151 versus 11,705 in 2020.  An increase of 88% in European Starlings lessened the decrease.

On count day we saw 127 species, an increase of 2% versus 125 in 2020; 120 in 2019; 136 in 2018; 137 in 2017; 140 in 2016; 133 in 2015; 125 in 2014; 143 in 2013.  For count week we saw 137 species, an increase of 1% versus 135 in 2020; 125 in 2019; 140 in 2018; 144 in 2017; 145 in  2016; 133 in 2015.

Even though the pandemic lowered the number of participants, we had over 60 participants who spent 100 hours in search of birds by foot, car, golf cart, or boat, and covered over 425 miles by land or sea.

Of note, we recorded on count day for the first time ever five species: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Canada Goose, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Cinnamon Teal and  Cinnamon/Blue-winged Teal.

There were 24 birds that we recorded through count week in 2021 but not in 2020:  Yellow-headed Blackbird, Ring-necked Duck, Scissor-tiled Flycatcher, Magnificent Frigatebird, Purple, Gallinule, Canada Goose, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Cooper’s Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Red-breasted Merganser, Merlin, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Northern Parula, Black-bellied Plover, Clapper Rail, Sanderling, Bachman’s Sparrow, Summer tanager, Cinnamon Teal, Cinnamon/Blue-winged Teal Hybrid, Ruddy Turnstone and Sedge Wren.  There were 16 birds that we did not record through count week in 2021 but did in 2020:   Least Bittern, Northern Bobwhite, Bufflehead, Crested Caracara, Long-billed Dowitcher, Ruddy Duck, Horned Grebe, Eastern Screech Owl, Barred Owl, King Rail, Virginia Rail, Redhead, Swamp Sparrow, Green-winged Teal, Bell’s Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler and Whip-por-will.

Of the birds we did see, there were 17 species that had at least a 65% decline:  Bluebird, Indigo Bunting, Harrier, Scrub Jay, Killdeer, Meadowlark, Great-horned Owl, Semipalmated Plover, Sapsucker, Lesser Scaup, Skimmer, Forster’s Tern, Sandwich Tern, Towhee, Yellow-throated Warbler, Willet, and Greater Yellowlegs.

Counts were up at least 200% for 13 species including Red-winged Blackbird, Coot, Brown-headed Cowbird, Mallard, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Herring Gull, Loon, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Brown Pelican,Least Sandpiper, Roseate Spoonbill, Royal Tern and Tufted Titmouse.

There can be wide fluctuations in counts from one year to the next as with Brown-headed Cowbirds, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Least Sandpiper, Roseate Spoonbill, and Royal Tern, which declined more than 65% in 2020, but rose more than 200% in 2021.  The opposite held true for Scrub Jay,and  Lesser Scaup which increased more than 200% in 2020, but declined more than 65% in 2021.

2021 The top 10 birds 2020 The top 10 birds

accounting for 59% of the total sightings were:    accounting for 79% of the total sightings were:

1.      European Starling  1467      (12%)               1.    Lesser Scaup 11705       (51%)

2.      Mourning Dove  944                                      2.    Mourning Dove  945

3.      White Ibis  894                                                3.    Double-crested Cormorant 898

4.       Tree Swallow 867                                           4.     White Ibis   846

5.       Double-crested Cormorant   742                 5.     European Starling  782

6.       Boat-tailed Grackle   716                               6.     Boat-tailed Grackle  771

7.       Common Grackle     502                                7.     Common Grackle   756

8.       Laughing Gull   391                                        8.     Tree Swallow   528

9.       Black Vulture   270                                         9.    Turkey Vulture  469

10.       Turkey Vulture   261                                   10.    Laughing Gull   393

Black Vulture was added to the top ten, while Lesser Scaup  was deleted;  otherwise all the other species just changed their rankings.

The following 5 birds had equal to or higher totals than in any of the last 20 years: Northern Cardinal, Purple Gallinule, Short-tailed Hawk, Ovenbird and Tufted Titmouse.

There were 17 birds that are seen occasionally which we did not record through count week in the last two years:  American Bittern, Canvasback, Short-billed Dowitcher, Dunlin,  Marbled Godwit, Sharp-shinned Hawk,  Red Knot, Burrowing Owl, American Redstart, Northern Shoveler,  Grasshopper Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Hermit Thrush,  Cedar Waxwing, American Wigeon, Marsh Wren and Sedge Wren.

If you are interested, I can send you the 20 year comparison.

Again, thank you all for helping on the count this year.   If I have missed anyone please forward the email to them.

Tony Licata Common Name of bird2021 % 21 to 202020Anhinga95-22%122Bittern American 00Bittern Least03Blackbird Brewer’s 00Blackbird Red-winged 112331%26Blackbird Rusty 00Blackbird Yellow-headedcwBluebird Eastern 2-82%11Bobwhite Northern 0-100%21Bufflehead0cwBunting Indigo 3-67%9Bunting, Painted620%5Canvasback00Caracara, Crested0-100%2Cardinal Northern 9675%55Catbird Gray 64-42%111Coot American 57714%7Cormorant Double-crested 742-17%898Cowbird Brown-headed 282700%1Cowbird Shiny00Crane Sandhill 32100%16Crow American 57-42%98Crow Fish 217-4%227Dove Common Ground4365%26Dove Eurasian Collared176151%70Dove Mourning 9440%945Dove Ringed Turtle00Dove Rock (Rock Pigeon)74196%25Dove, White-winged55-34%83Dowitcher Short-billed 00Dowitcher Long-billed 0-100%56Duck Mallard9200%3Duck Mottled20420%170Duck, Mallard/Mottled 10Duck Muscovy 5624%45Duck Ring-necked 50***cwDuck Ruddy 0-100%1Duck Whistling-Black Bellied2381090%20Duck, Wood00Dunlin00Eagle Bald 235%22Egret Cattle 17095%87Egret Great 114-7%123Egret Reddish 00Egret Snowy 51-14%59Falcon, Peregrine00Finch, House30%3Flicker Northern (Yellow-shafted) 6-45%11Flycatcher Great Crested 1-50%2Flycatcher, Least00Flycatcher, Scissor-tailed1***Frigatebird Magnificent 1***0Gadwall00Gallinule Common91-27%124Gallinule Purple3***0Gnatcatcher Blue-gray 138-2%141Godwit, Marbled00Goldeneye Common 00Goldfinch American cw36Goose Canada1***Goose Snow 00Grackle Boat-tailed 716-7%771Grackle Common 502-34%756Grebe Eared00Grebe Horned 0cwGrebe Pied-billed 2993%15Gull Bonaparte’s00Gull Franklin’s00Gull Great Black-backed00Gull Lesser Black-backed1***Gull Herring 21425%4Gull Laughing 391-1%393Gull Ring-billed132181%47Harrier Northern1-80%5Hawk Cooper’s 2cwHawk Red-shouldered32-42%55Hawk Red-tailed 40%4Hawk Sharp-shinned cwcwHawk, Short-tailed4***cwHawk,Broad-winged00Hawk, Swainson’s00Heron Great Blue  (Blue form)67-30%96Heron Great Blue  (White form)00Heron Green1678%9Heron Little Blue 143101%71Heron Tricolored297%27Hummingbird Ruby-throated 1***0Ibis Glossy 84-38%136Ibis White 8946%846Jay Blue 116-8%126Jay Scrub2-90%21Kestrel American2162%13Killdeer27-70%89Kingbird,Eastern00Kingfisher Belted 2673%15Kinglet Ruby-crowned 1***0Kite Snail10%1Knot Red 00Limpkin2210%20Loon Common4300%1Meadowlark Eastern 7-76%29Merganser Hooded 150%15Merganser Red-breasted47***0Merlin2***0Mockingbird Northern 205-6%219Night-Heron Black-crowned 7-36%11Night-Heron Yellow-crowned21200%7Nuthatch Brown-headed 4***cw Oriole, Northern00Osprey6217%53Ovenbird2100%1Owl Burrowing 00Owl Eastern Screech0cwOwl Great Horned 1-67%3Owl,Barred0-100%2Owl, Barn00Oystercatcher American 00Parakeet Monk 20-17%24Parula, Northerncw3Pelican Brown 148229%45Pelican White 913%8Phoebe Eastern 24-8%26Pintail Northern 00Pipit, American00Plover Black-bellied2***0Plover Semipalmated 18-75%71Rail Clapper 1***0Rail, King0-100%1Rail, Virginia0-100%1Redhead0-100%1Redstart, American00Robin American cw 94Sanderling8***0Sandpiper Least 291350%2Sandpiper Spotted 8-27%11Sandpiper Western 00Sapsucker Yellow-bellied 1-80%5Scaup Lesser151-99%11705Scaup, Greater00Scoter, Black00Shoveler Northern 00Shrike Loggerhead 166-1%167Skimmer Black 8-90%77Snipe, Wilson’s50%5SoracwcwSparrow Bachman’s cw***0Sparrow Chipping 00Sparrow Grasshopper 00Sparrow House 2344%16Sparrow Savannah 4100%2Sparrow Song 00Sparrow Swamp 0-100%3Sparrow, Vesper00Sparrow, White-throated00Spoonbill Roseate 6500%1Starling European 146788%782Stork Wood4011%36Swallow Barn 00Swallow Northern Rough-winged 00Swallow Tree 86764%528Swan Mute00Tanager, Scarlet 00Tanager, Summercw***0Teal Blue-winged 4841%34Teal Cinnamon1***Teal Cinnamon/Bluewinged Hybrid1***Teal Green-winged 0-100%1Tern Caspian00Tern Common 00Tern Forster’s 1-94%17Tern Royal 117485%20Tern Sandwich 1-80%5Thrasher Brown 10%1Thrush Hermit00Titmouse Tufted9350%2Towhee Eastern 6-65%17Turkey Wild00Turnstone Ruddy 2***cwVireo, Bell’s0-100%1Vireo, Solitary (Blue-headed)1-50%2Vireo White-eyed 5-17%6Vireo Yellow-throated 00Vulture Black270-19%332Vulture Turkey 261-44%469Warbler Black-and-white 620%5Warbler, Orange-crowned0-100%1Warbler Palm 1685%160Warbler Pine 21064%128Warbler Prairie 1-50%2Warbler Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) 168-45%306Warbler Yellow-throated 3-70%10Warbler Yellow00Warbler Black-throated Blue00Waxwing Cedar 00Whip-poor-will0-100%1Wigeon, American00Willet2-78%9Woodcock, American00Woodpecker Downy6-45%11Woodpecker Hairy cw1Woodpecker Pileated 9-44%16Woodpecker Red-bellied 78-25%104Woodpecker Red-cockaded 2-33%3Woodpecker Red-headed 10%1Wren Carolina 1813%16Wren House 11-21%14Wren Sedge cw***0Wren,Marsh00Yellowlegs Greater 3-67%9Yellowlegs Lesser 350%2Yellowthroat Common 9-57%21Yearly Totals12053-47%22866number of species  1272%125including count week1371%135

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