Local Audubon Society good for Austin

Published 9:38 am Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Christmas Bird Count began more than a century ago and is conducted annually during December and the first part of January as a way to count different species of birds throughout the country.

The data collected by observers allows researchers, biologists and other interested individuals to study the health and status of bird populations across North America.

The Austin Area Audubon held its count Jan. 4. from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Sixteen field observers and seven feeder counters covered a 15-mile in diameter count circle, and while they saw fewer birds than expected, they still made a valuable contribution to our state and national bird counts.

In the Austin area, 39 species included 3,586 birds. Included in the count were 147 Canada Goose; 809 Mallard; 93 Blue Jay; 152 Black-Capped Chickadees; 98 Cardinal; 141 Goldfinch; 117 House Finch; 224 Starlings and 336 Sparrow. Some substantial spottings included the Great Blue Heron near the E.S. Lake Dam, a Pileated Woodpecker and a White-Throated Sparrow.

The Austin Audubon Society is an asset to our area for two reasons. It provides an opportunity for bird enthusiasts to meet and talk to other local folks who are also enjoy bird watching, and its members collect important data about birds in our area through outings such as the annual bird count.

We’re happy to have them.