Sheridan Christmas Bird Count

On the 22nd of December, the Sheridan Christmas Bird Count (CBC) proceeded with great excitement. This was the second Christmas Bird Count of the season, for the Flocking Around crew. We encountered 34 species and a total of 970 individual birds for our thrilling route.

During Christmas Bird Counts, we track our sightings on eBird. For Sheridan, we recorded 12 eBird checklists throughout the day. eBird is a great resource for CBCs, and the summary features made filling out our route report incredibly easy. It also takes away the high probability of me having a math error and/or writing down incorrect totals. (Who knew birds and math were tied together?)

A Quick Start

Our route had a strong start with a couple of accipiters. Additionally, we found pheasants galore, including some sitting in trees! Zach exclaimed his enthusiasm loudly as this is an uncommon behavior that he had yet to experience. Unfortunately, the pheasants were unwilling to sit still as he put the camera out the window. Breaking the "car blind" led to all the birds flushing.

Ring-necked Pheasants eating Russian Olive seeds
Ring-necked Pheasants eating Russian Olive seeds

We had an array of raptors, including a Sharp-shinned Hawk flying by us with a House Finch in its talons, and a Merlin female on a light post chowing down on a House Sparrow. The female Merlin below is of the "prairie" subspecies. Our last raptor for the day was a male "prairie" Merlin.

Merlin eating a sparrow
Merlin eating a sparrow

The Prize Bird

By far the biggest highlight of the count was Zach finding a Varied Thrush! It was hanging out with a group of robins, who were feeding on the berry trees in the area. This was a rare double-lifer bird for Zach and me, as neither of us has seen it before. (That is not saying much for me and my life list, but getting Zach a life bird in Wyoming can be a challenge.)

Male Varied Thrush
Varied Thrush - male

If you are unfamiliar with the Varied Thrush, below is the typical range for the species. As you can see, Varied Thrush is not a common visitor to the Cowboy State.

Varied Thrush Range Map
Varied Thrush Range Map

List from the Day

You can see our full route species report below. This was a stark contrast to our slow Casper CBC outing, and included many great species!

Cackling Goose (3) Canada Goose (93) Mallard (65) Ring-necked Pheasant (49) Wild Turkey (19) Rock Pigeon (27) Eurasian Collared-Dove (119) Sharp-shinned Hawk (2) Accipiter sp. (1) (possible NOGO) Bald Eagle (8) Red-tailed Hawk (8) Ferruginous Hawk (3) Belted Kingfisher (1) Downy Woodpecker (5) Northern Flicker (22) Merlin (2) Blue Jay (8) Black-billed Magpie (45) American Crow (14) Black-capped Chickadees (50) Red-breasted Nuthatch (1) White-breasted Nuthatch (3) European Starling (204) Townsend's Solitaire (3) Varied Thrush (1) American Robin (44) Cedar Waxwing (43) Bohemian/Cedar Waxwing (10) House Sparrow (38) House Finch (61) American Goldfinch (3) American Tree Sparrow (1) Dark-eyed Junco (12) Song Sparrow (2)

Photos from the Christmas Bird Count

Ferruginous Hawk in a tree
Ferruginous Hawk

Non-countable Wildlife

Mink catches a perch
This mink successfully caught a small fish while we watched.

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