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December is that time of year for birding. Yes, CBC time, the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Days are short and light is bad.  As a professional musician, I'm always overworked. It's definitely not bird photograhy time if that's what you're checking this page for. The CBC gives me an excuse to take a whole day off from everything and have a look around while doing something constructive. I have been covering the same general area, my local backyard stretch of the Scioto River, for the Columbus CBC since 1992.

My backyard stretch of the Scioto River in Columbus, Dec. 19, 2009.
 Canon EOS1D MarkIII, Canon 14mm lens, ISO 400, f13, 1/85 sec.



Here are my 2009 CBC totals on Dec. 20, 2009:

Canada Goose - 318
Mute Swan - 4
Wood Duck - 1
American Black Duck - 15
Mallard - 239
Redhead - 1
Ring-necked Duck - 92
Bufflehead - CW(2)
Hooded Merganser - 64
Ruddy Duck - 1
Pied-billed Grebe - CW(4)
Great Blue Heron - 10
Bald Eagle - 1
Cooper's Hawk - 1
Red-tailed Hawk - 5
Merlin - CW
American Coot - 1
Bonaparte's Gull - 2
Ring-billed Gull - 565
Herring Gull - 2
Rock Pigeon - 149
Mourning Dove - 9
Great Horned Owl - 1
Belted Kingfisher - 12
Red-bellied Woodpecker - 7
Downy Woodpecker - 25
Hairy Woodpecker - 2
Northern Flicker - 4
Blue Jay - 10
American Crow - 59
Carolina Chickadee - 73
White-breasted Nuthatch - 10
Brown Creeper - 5
Carolina Wren - 8
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 6
American Robin - 426
Northern Mockingbird - 5
European Starling - 270
Song Sparrow - 2
White-throated Sparrow- 85
Dark-eyed Junco - 3
Northern Cardinal - 102
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
House Finch - 48
American Goldfinch - 57
House Sparrow - 237
 

As mentioned, I've been covering basically this same area for the Columbus CBC since 1992  along the Scioto River from roughly Griggs Reservoir to Grandview Avenue with some gaps in between where access isn't possible or unproductive. When I started in 1992, much of my time was spent looking through weedy fields of abandoned quarries, but that area has been gradually turned into housing developments - with significant loss of habitat for sparrows especially. The numbers of seed-eating birds declined precipitously after 1995.  Time was replaced then by spending more time along the river itself after a bike path was made south of 5th Avenue. For comparison,  here are the numbers of birds I've seen in about 6 to 8 hours each year for 1993/1994/1995/1996/1997/1999/2001/2002/2003/2004/2005/2006/2007/2008/2009. I can't find my lists for 1992 and 1998.  I was ill and didn't do it for 2000. I spent less time in 1999, so some numbers are relatively too low for that year perhaps. For those that don't know the lingo, "CW" is count week, a species seen during the course of the CBC week, but not on that particular day.
 

Canada Goose  15/6/341/129/78/12/147/551/333/617/1855/318/186/342/318
Mute Swan  0/0/CW/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/1/0/4
Tundra Swan 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/CW/0/0/0/0
Wood Duck 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/2/2/2/0/0/8/0/1
American Black Duck  0/1/6/7/0/4/3/37/CW/19/16/0/16/30/15
Mallard  77/302/890/453/310/191/243/1105/501/1223/519/63/154/619/239
Gadwall 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/2/0/0/0/1/6/7/0
Northern Pintail  0/0/1/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0
Ring-necked Duck  0/0/0/51/0/95/CW/35/119/27/73/36/131/189/92
Lesser Scaup  0/0/7/0/0/0/0/0/0/4/0/0/12/3/0
Redhead 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/1/0/5/0/1
Canvasback 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/CW/2/0/0
White-winged Scoter  0/0/CW/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0
Bufflehead  0/0/2/CW/5/0/0/2/0/0/0/0/0/2/CW
Common Goldeneye 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/1/0/0
Hooded Merganser  7/30/2/19/0/82/14/14/49/17/16/26/75/73/64
Common Merganser  0/0/1/1/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0
Red-breasted Merganser  0/0/0/7/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/CW/0/0
Ruddy Duck 0/0/0/0/1/0/0/1/0/1/1/0/0/0/1
Pied-billed Grebe  0/3/1/2/0/2/CW/1/2/2/3/4/5/0/CW
Horned Grebe 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/2/0/0/0
Double-crested Cormorant 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/CW/2/0/0/0/0/0
Great Blue Heron  6/1/5/4/2/2/7/14/4/9/2/3/12/3/10
Bald Eagle 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/CW/0/2/0/0/0/0/1
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1/0/1/1/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0
Cooper's Hawk  1/0/2/1/1/0/CW/CW/2/1/2/1/1/1/1
Red-tailed Hawk  2/0/2/1/1/2/0/1/3/2/3/2/2/4/5
American Kestrel  0/0/0/0/0/0/0/CW/CW/0/0/0/0/0/0
Merlin  0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/CW
American Coot  0/14/6/0/0/0/1/0/0/0/1/0/102/4/1
Wilson's Snipe 0/0/CW/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0
Bonaparte's Gull 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/1/0/0/0/0/0/0/2
Ring-billed Gull  56/95/370/983/794/133/353/748/196/130/6/167/461/209/565
Herring Gull  2/0/0/0/0/0/5/1/0/0/0/0/1/0/2
Rock Pigeon  41/86/273/85/232/12/115/168/202/134/47/67/19/73/149
Mourning Dove  38/12/57/57/20/15/31/57/58/20/78/4/34/84/9
Eastern Screech-Owl  2/1/3/1/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0
Great Horned Owl  1/0/3/1/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/1
Barred Owl  0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/1/0
Belted Kingfisher  2/3/4/1/2/2/3/8/3/5/8/6/6/4/12
Red-bellied Woodpecker  0/0/0/0/0/0/2/3/2/3/7/4/3/4/7
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  0/0/0/0/0/0/1/0/0/0/1/0/0/0/0
Downy Woodpecker  16/17/16/5/5/4/14/10/20/16/16/22/24/24/25
Hairy Woodpecker  0/1/1/0/0/0/CW/0/1/2/1/0/1/1/2
Northern Flicker  9/8/2/1/0/0/CW/1/CW/0/0/0/0/0/4
Blue Jay  14/4/15/10/3/0/5/6/5/2/6/1/3/6/10
American Crow  15/27/21/27/17/4/14/0/0/0/3/11/6/15/59
Carolina Chickadee 41/58/83/40/27/16/54/16/25/24/28/41/69/64/73
Tufted Titmouse  2/1/2/1/0/1/2/0/0/1/0/0/0/0/0
Red-breasted Nuthatch  0/0/0/0/0/0/1/0/0/0/0/0/2/0/0
White-breasted Nuthatch  2/0/1/2/0/2/5/CW/1/3/7/3/2/7/10
Brown Creeper  2/7/4/2/0/1/0/5/4/3/9/4/1/2/5
Carolina Wren  12/5/7/2/2/1/9/13/3/6/8/16/7/15/8
Winter Wren 0/0/0/0/0/1/0/0/1/1/3/0/0/0/0
Golden-crowned Kinglet  0/0/3/1/0/0/0/2/0/2/6/0/CW/2/6
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/1/0
Hermit Thrush  0/0/1/0/0/0/0/0/2/0/4/0/0/0/0
American Robin 131/47/37/138/19/9/233/281/345/49/215/47/77/855/426
Northern Mockingbird 5/1/2/1/0/0/3/CW/CW/0/1/0/2/0/5
Brown Thrasher 0/0/1/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0
European Starling  587/49/68/51/8/430/344/2020/9162/456/282/285/271/1502/270
Cedar Waxwing  0/6/6/87/59/0/1/0/8/0/2/0/0/186/0
Orange-crowned Warbler 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/1/0/0/0/0/0/0
American Redstart  0/0/0/0/0/0/1/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0
Eastern Towhee 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/CW/0/0/0/1/1/0
American Tree Sparrow  0/9/20/4/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0
Field Sparrow  1/0/CW/1/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0
Song Sparrow  24/29/22/4/1/0/1/8/8/0/2/5/7/17/2
Swamp Sparrow  0/2/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0
Fox Sparrow 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/CW/0/0/0/0
White-throated Sparrow  114/153/235/123/66/19/104/126/107/116/79/133/110/156/85
White-crowned Sparrow  0/1/4/0/0/0/0/0/2/0/0/0/0/0/0
Dark-eyed Junco  16/64/55/14/25/3/42/21/23/7/5/8/16/3
Northern Cardinal  116/145/112/108/47/25/55/49/76/81/50/65/96/71/102
Red-winged Blackbird 0/1/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0
Common Grackle 0/0/0/0/0/1/0/0/0/0/7/0/0/0/0
Brown-headed Cowbird 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/1
Purple Finch 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/1/0/0/0/0/0/0
House Finch  58/48/26/8/3/14/22/4/27/1/3/2/35/17/48
American Goldfinch  91/89/69/40/13/0/23/6/197/18/10/23/28/143/57
House Sparrow  71/53/177/61/61/70/129/116/160/129/103/118/182/320/237