2014-01-10 / Nature

Conanicut Island Bird Count Results

By Jack Kelly

The 31st annual Conanicut Island Christmas Bird Count was conducted on Sunday, Jan. 5. Originally scheduled for Saturday, it was postponed due to sub-zero temperatures and wind chills. The count was organized by island residents Candy Powell and Evelyn Rhodes and documented a record number of avian species. According to Powell, “We had 14 participants in the field and six others calling in from their home areas. We recorded 81 species and had a few surprise sightings of unexpected birds such as a Pine Warbler, a Barrow’s Goldeneye, nine Eastern Meadowlarks, four Ravens and one Eastern Bluebird. Our previous record was 77 species three years ago.”

Large numbers of European Starlings, American Robins, and Canada Geese were recorded across the island. The waters of Beavertail State Park hosted 40 Harlequin Ducks, 358 Common Eider and 490 Black Scoters. In the days prior to the count, the park was visited by a Snowy Owl, a flock of Purple Sandpipers, and a Peregrine Falcon. A Barred Owl, Great Horned Owl and two Brown Thrashers were also observed.

Powell was pleased with the success of this year’s count and is looking forward to the group’s annual Spring Bird Count in May.

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