Saturday, December 17, 2005

CBC: The District of Columbia

Earlier today I participated in the Christmas Bird Count for the District of Columbia. Yes, it seems early for a "Christmas" count, but the National Audubon Society and local birding clubs schedule the counts over a two-week period to take advantage of weekends to ensure maximum participation. I was one of eight counters for the National Arboretum (part of the Anacostia sector). The DC count has traditionally had many volunteers; last year 123 birders participated across the district.

I have noted before on this blog that the winter seems to be especially good for red-breasted nuthatches in the Washington area. In the National Arboretum alone we had about half a dozen. I imagine that more will turn up in other sectors once the data is compiled. Red-breasted nuthatches are an irruptive species for the mid-Atlantic. While not uncommon, they do not show up in great numbers every year. The graph below gives a picture of red-breasted nuthatch numbers in the district over the past 35 years.

The full results of the DC bird count will be available later in 2006, once the National Audubon Society has compiled the data and published it on its website.