Upcoming Litchfield Hills Summer Bird Count

Marsh Wren photographed at

White Memorial's Little Pond

by Paul Fusco

The 2011 Litchfield Hills Summer Bird Count is scheduled to occur this coming weekend, June 11 and 12. The count period is June 8 through 15. It is sponsored by the CT. Ornithological Association and the Litchfield Hills Audubon Society, and was initiated in 1994. White Memorial's immense size requires a large number of volunteers under my direction to cover thoroughly. Ideally, we should have teams on foot and in canoes and kayaks. We currently have 8 people committed to do the count, but would like to have at least 12. Experienced birders are preferred, but beginners and novices can help, too, by being extra eyes and ears, and by helping to record data. In past years our "newbies" have provided some pretty good birds to the list simply by pointing to a bird sitting on a tree branch and saying "what's that?" Most years produce around 110 species on White Memorial property, but we have found as many as 125 when the spring migration has dragged on into the breeding season. Since many of our recent walks around various sections of the Property have produced about 60 species per section in about 2 hours time it is quite likely that we could get 110 species for the whole Property this year. We also stand to be on the high side in terms of the number of individual birds counted this year because this total includes nestlings and fledgling as well as adults and there are already plenty of baby birds out there. My daily counts for ebird have risen markedly in the past week because of the influx of new babies into the population. The day before yesterday (6/7) I had no problem finding and counting about 475 individual birds of 54 species around our "Main Area" and about 343 individuals of 41 species at Pine Island and Mallard Marsh. I covered each area for a little less than 2 hours. More time spent outside would translate into more birds, even though a law of diminishing returns sets in after a while when it comes to adding more species. The weather also plays a big role in our effort and in the detectability of birds. It is forecasted to be partly sunny and comfortable on Saturday and mostly cloudy, humid, and showery on Sunday. If you would like to help with this count, especially by canoe or kayak, please e-mail me at dave@whitememorialcc.org.

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