The Rockford Christmas Bird Count took place on Saturday, December 15th in our home town of Rockford, Illinois. This is our second of four counts this season.
The Birdfreak Team was split into two groups so we were able to see a wide variety of birds. It snowed from the time we began (around 7 AM) until Veery’s group returned (around 5:30 PM).
The team consisted of our sister, Susan (aka Snowy Owl), Veery’s son Dakota, our dad, and two great birders that live on our street, Jack and Joyce. Dakota and Susan were on their very first Christmas Bird Count and they had a wonderful time (despite being cold and worn out).
The bird highlights were several owl species including Long-eared Owl, massive amounts of American Tree Sparrows, Rough-legged Hawks, many Ring-necked Pheasants, and 4 Common Redpolls.
This team consisted of a great birder named Kevin and two birders from Byron, a town south of us. Our area consisted of a lot of open areas and not as much forest. We decided soon after lunch to call it a day due to poor visibility from the snowstorm.
The bird highlights were Northern Harrier, Northern Shrike – seen in the same area; 2 Great Blue Herons and a Belted Kingfisher (good when most of the water is frozen); Carolina Wren and a good variety of birds throughout (although in small numbers).
While we don’t have the official numbers we do know that the field teams have tallied (so far) 70 species including six species of owls (highlighted by the Snowy Owl). Other highlights not seen by our two groups included: Sandhill Crane, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Winter Wrens, Brewer’s Blackbird, and Savannah Sparrow.
We’ll update when we get final numbers.