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Christmas Bird Dec 18, 2017!

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The Barrington Area Christmas Bird Count!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Want to be part of an Audubon tradition?  Want to participate in Audubon's greatest event? 

Please call Duane (past-president of PWA.)  

He will tell you where to meet up in the area to count birds.  You will be teamed up with others so you're not alone.

Duane Heaton

No participation fee!


Please email if you'll be joining us or have any questions.



       Duane E Heaton


CBC Result Highlights

History and Usefulness of the CBC

Each year, over 50,000 birders participate in over 2,000 Christmas Bird Counts across the Western Hemisphere. This holiday tradition started in 1900 as a conservation-minded alternative to the Christmas “Side Hunt” of those days, in which teams would compete to see who could shoot the most birds and other animals. On that first CBC, there were 25 counts (one was in Glen Ellyn, IL) and 90 species were recorded. Each Christmas Bird Count is an all day census of early-winter bird populations within a 15-mile diameter circle.


The CBC database now represents over a century of information on early winter bird populations. The data collected allow the study of the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America.  With these data now in an interactive on-line database, anyone can quickly map or graph a species by year and geographic region. 

See to make your own graphs or maps. 

You may also want to try the Breeding Bird Survey database, which has similar capabilities for breeding season bird populations; see

About the Barrington CBC

This was the 53rd year of the Barrington CBC.  Over those 53 years, 136 different species have been observed, 756,273 individual birds have been counted, 1,564 field observers expended 4,282 party hours and traveled 18,928 miles in temperatures ranging from -16o to 54o, 185 observers spent 410 hours watching feeders, and 37 observers spent 30.5 hours owling.

The Barrington count began in 1964, when 3 birders counted 35 species. The following year, there were 17 participants, and there have been about 20-40 participants each year since. The Barrington CBC is centered near the intersection of Barrington Rd. and the Northwest Tollway. It covers approximately 177 square miles, mostly in Cook County, but also in parts of Kane, Lake, DuPage, and McHenry Counties.

The 15-mile diameter Barrington CBC circle includes all or parts of Barrington, Deer Park, Palatine, Inverness, Hoffman Estates, South Barrington, Rolling Meadows, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Roselle, Hanover Park, Bartlett, Streamwood, Elgin, East Dundee, West Dundee, Carpentersville, and Barrington Hills.  Preserves within the circle include all or parts of Deer Grove, Busse Woods, Paul Douglas, Crabtree Nature Center, Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary, Baker’s Lake, Spring Creek, Beverly Lake, Bluff Spring Fen, Trout Park, Cuba Marsh, Poplar Creek, and Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation.

Highlights of the 2016 Barrington CBC

We had a warm November and a more normal early December, but single digit low temperatures arrived on December 13.  With temperatures staying below freezing, snowfalls on December 10-11 and 16-17 remained through count day. The very cold weather on count day served as a clear reminder that the Christmas Bird Count is a census of early “winter” bird populations. With very little open water over most of the circle, waterfowl species and numbers were lower than recent years, but the 58 species observed is right at the 53-year average.

A Harris’s Sparrow, which was being seen regularly at Crabtree Nature Center since early December, represented a count first. Other count highs or ties were 19 Cooper’s Hawks (previous high was 15 in 2014), 2 Red-shouldered Hawks (2 also seen in 5 other years), and 6 Hermit Thrushes (6 also seen in 2005).

There were two 10-year highs or ties: 3 Rough-legged Hawks (also 3 in 2011) and 1 Savannah Sparrow (also 1 in 1996).

Ten-year lows for species seen all of the last 10 years were 821 Canada Geese (976 in 2010), 4 Great Horned Owls (also 4 in 2007, 2008, and 2009), 10 Hairy Woodpeckers (also 10 in 2008), 3 Northern Flickers (also 3 in 2007), and 3 Brown Creepers (4 in 2010).

Species regularly seen but missed this year were Mute Swan (seen 8 of the last 10 years), Golden-crowned Kinglet (8 of 10 years), and Yellow-rumped Warbler (8 of 10 years).

Participants from Chicago Audubon Society, Kane County Audubon Society, Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, McHenry County Audubon Society, Natural History Society of Barrington, Prairie Woods Audubon Society, and others helped with the count.

Results of the 2016 Barrington CBC

Species and Numbers: Canada Goose, 821; American Black Duck, 7; Mallard, 616; Common Goldeneye, 16; Common Merganser, 30; Great Blue Heron, 8; Bald Eagle, 11; Northern Harrier, 3; Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1; Cooper’s Hawk, 19; Red-shouldered Hawk, 2; Red-tailed Hawk, 51; Rough-legged Hawk, 3; American Coot, 3; Ring-billed Gull, 58; Herring Gull, 98; gull, species, 100; Rock Pigeon, 173; Mourning Dove, 119; Great Horned Owl, 4; Long-eared Owl, 7; Belted Kingfisher, 5; Red-bellied Woodpecker, 46; Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, 1; Downy Woodpecker, 75; Hairy Woodpecker, 10; Northern Flicker, 3; American Kestrel, 3; Northern Shrike, 2; Blue Jay, 30; American Crow, 93; Horned Lark, 3; Black-capped Chickadee, 156; Red-breasted Nuthatch, 3; White-breasted Nuthatch, 37; Brown Creeper, 3; Eastern Bluebird, 30; Hermit Thrush, 6; American Robin, 243; European Starling, 666; Cedar Waxwing, 97; American Tree Sparrow, 290; Savannah Sparrow, 1; Fox Sparrow, 9; Song Sparrow, 14; Swamp Sparrow, 5; White-throated Sparrow, 24; Harris’s Sparrow, 1; White-crowned Sparrow, 26; Dark-eyed Junco, 485; Northern Cardinal, 157; Purple Finch, 6; House Finch, 99; Pine Siskin, 3; American Goldfinch, 89; Red-winged Blackbird, 142; Common Grackle, 4; Brown-headed Cowbird, 77; House Sparrow, 396.

Totals: 58 species; 5,490 individual birds. 

Field Observers: 29 in 12-13 Parties; Feeder Watchers: 7. Party Hours: 61.50 (38.00 on foot, 23.50 by car). Party Miles: 246.25 (29.25 on foot, 217.00 by car). Feeder Hours: 8.00. Nocturnal Hours: 0. Nocturnal Miles: 0. Temperature: -7F – 16F.  Wind: SSW at 1115 mph. Sky: Clear. Snow Cover: 3-12 inches. None. Still Water: Frozen.  Moving Water: Partly open.

Participants:  Chris Anchor, Alan Anderson, Jon Duerr, Joy Duerr, Carolyn Fields, Chuck Fields, Clark Ganshirt, Lindsey Garrett, Margaret Gazdacka, Cheryl Hayes, Duane Heaton, Jane Heaton (feeder watcher), Roger Hotham, Annette Huizenga, Tim Huizenga, Nancy Lloyd, Julie Long, Kerry Luft, Margaret Mechtenberg, Barry Menich, Becky Menich, Robert A. Montgomery (feeder watcher), Donna Motherway (feeder watcher), Marilyn Moxon, Vince Moxon, Laurel Ross, Randy Schietzelt, Laura Simpson, Stan Stec, Craig Stettner, Tony Szabados, Heide Tarasiuk, Chuck Westcott.

Thanks to all who helped!  Next year’s count will be Monday, December 18, 2017.  Mark your calendars now !

Duane Heaton (compiler)