Seeley Swan Pathfinder
March 18, 1999
Upper Swan Valley bird watchers recently took part in the Second Annual Nationwide Backyard Bird Count. The Count, sponsored by the Cornell Ornithological Laboratory and National Audubon, took place between February 19 and 22.
Swan Valley count participants tallied 32 species and 597 individual birds. In comparison, the December 1998 Christmas Bird Count carried out by local bird watchers tallied 31 species and 413 individual birds. The June 1998 count tallied 90 species in the upper Swan Valley.
The species with the highest numbers in February included 127 Black-capped Chickadees, 83 Mountain Chickadees, 72 Ravens, 44 Red-Breasted Nuthatches, 31 Downy Woodpeckers, 30 Hairy Woodpeckers, 46 Gray Jays, and 36 Stellar Jays. 11 Pileated Woodpeckers, 12 Bald Eagles, 5 Golden Eagles and 2 Eastern Blue Jays were also sighted.
Early signs of spring included hearing the Varied Thrush and spotting two Redwing Blackbirds. Both species are unusually early for the Swan.
Eighteen Swan Valley bird watchers contributed to the February count. The group will next take part in the May migratory bird count. The local group has established a series of spring and summer Swan Valley events on its own initiative.
The Swan Valley bird data is being accumulated by Jody Wolff of the Grounded Eagle Foundation. Data from local counts now goes back six years.