Lost Mound Christmas Bird Count

This is a recap of our first of four Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs). This year marks the 108th year for Christmas Bird Counts.

The Lost Mound is located in northwestern Illinois, bordering the Mississippi River near the town of Savanna. This area was once a bustling army depot and now is partially a portion of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge.

Bald Eagles in the distance along the shore of the Mississippi River
Mighty Miss. & Bald Eagles

The history is long and complicated, but currently this location is one of the best birding spots in the state. Not only that, but this is a top-notch location for photography, full of dilapidated buildings, railroad cars, and interesting views of the Mississippi River.

But, since we were doing a count, photography took a back seat and each of the birds discovered required a lot of work in the cold and icy conditions.

We started out with a pair of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and throughout the day nailed all seven possible woodpeckers in our area (a first for us!).

Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-headed Woodpecker

Raptors were well represented with 66 Bald Eagles, 5 Rough-legged Hawks, 12 Red-tailed Hawks, and 1 each of Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks. Our group was also able to get a response from a pair of Barred Owls.

Rough-legged Hawk hovering at a distance
Rough-legged Hawk

Our group ended up the day with 36 species, a descent total considering ducks were in low numbers and we didn’t have a single gull. Most of our birding was along the river and songbird diversity was low due to the recent ice storms. The seven species of woodpeckers included:

  1. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  2. Downy Woodpecker
  3. Hairy Woodpecker
  4. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  5. Pileated Woodpecker
  6. Red-headed Woodpecker
  7. Northern Flicker

Christmas Bird Counts are wonderful because every bird counts. And how many times do you get to say, “Just another Bald Eagle”?

One of our 46 immature Bald Eagles
Bald Eagle (imm.)

6 thoughts on “Lost Mound Christmas Bird Count

  1. “Just another Bald Eagle.” How cool is that. And all 7 woodpeckers, good stuff! I look forward to hearing about your other CBCs.

  2. #Vern – Three more to report on! We are excited (and sore)

    #Monarch – Thanks; your count sounded fun too!!

    #Bennet – Love “Picid bingo”; will be adding that to the phrases to confuse non birders

    #Lana – Thanks 🙂

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