Area birdwatchers convene at Nature Center

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 15, 2003

Bob-o-links from South America, 16 species of warblers including the Prothonatary and a Red-Headed woodpecker.

All were among the birds sighted last Saturday during the 2003 Birdathon by the local chapter of the National Audubon Society members.

According to the Mower County team leaders Larry Dolphin and Terry Dorsey, the Birdathon was a success, despite inclement weather.

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"The on/off rain and cool weather on Saturday, May 10, did not stop the teams of Dolphin and Dorsey from searching out migrating birds," Dorsey said. "From daybreak to final downpour, the teams covered Mower County from Oakland to LeRoy in an effort to record bird species and numbers for the International Migratory Bird Day."

The local birders were part of the 7,500-plus teams involved throughout 40 states trying to get a "snapshot" of the patterns of birds, during this migration season.

"This record will be sent to a state coordinator for tabulation and comparison to past information to help determine changes in bird populations," said Dorsey, "and, maybe, answer questions on species declines such as the Cerulean Warbler which has been reduced by as much as 60 percent in the last few years."

Bird specie totals

Here are some of the statistics from 2003:

— Team Dolphin: Members: Larry Dolphin, Tom Hartman, Gordy Kuehne, Jeff Morrison, John Morrison, Dorothy Owens, Pat Schmid.

Total birds: 105. Unique species, 20; Waterfowl, 12; Shorebirds, 12;

Warblers, 13; Sparrows, 7.

— Team Dorsey: Members: Terry Dorsey,

Katheryn Burke, Dave Cole, Kay Smaby, Richard Smaby.

Total birds: 99; Unique species, 11; Waterfowl, 11; Shorebirds, 16; Warblers, 10; Sparrows, eight.

Dolphin and Dorsey listed the following surprises spotted during the Birdathon: Prothonatary warbler, Northern Mocking Bird, Immature Bald Eagle, Sora Rail, two; common nighthawk, Red-headed woodpecker; Hermit thrush; Snipe; and Cape May warbler.

In all, the twin teams spotted 12 waterfowl, 17 shorebird, 16 warbler and nine sparrow species.

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at