On January 2nd Buenos Aires NWR hosted its 37th Christmas Bird Count, celebrating bird life on the refuge since 1987!
Every year the National Audubon Society sponsorsthis bird census nationwide. It is the longest running avian database in the world, providing valuable data on bird population status and trends.The goal is for participants to count as many birds as they can in one day, including nighttime owling. Each individual census is performed in a “count circle” of 15 miles’ diameter. Birding teams scour their assigned subarea from dawn to dusk, counting and trying to identify each bird sighted.
Here at the refuge the previous 24 hours were soaked in day-long rain, and the muddy roads made some areas too risky to drive. In addition, the cool temperatures inhibited bird activity, so numbers were down this year. But there was a good birder turnout – 27 bird-watchers who tallied 83 species and 2,150 birds. Perhaps the highlight was a male Barn Swallow, unusual for this time of year. Is this due to warming climate? He was only the second record in the history of the count, as was the chickadee at ArivacaCienega. The northern beardless tyrannulet at the Cienega wasalso noteworthy because this tiny flycatcher is a subtropical specialty (most of its range being south of here) and has only been seen on six of our counts. The single Ruddy Ground-Dove was only on three counts, the three Townsend’s Solitaires just on five. Also of interest were tengorgeous Western Bluebirds. Always exciting is the Peregrine Falcon, seen swooping over the grasslands, plus two barn owls, and one area had four Great Horned Owls!