Nebraska Ornithologists' Union



Date of this Version


Document Type



“2011–2012 Christmas Bird Counts,” from Nebraska Bird Review (March 2012) 80(1).


Copyright 2012 Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


Fifteen counts, one more than last year, were held during the period, and a total of 139 species, 10 fewer than last year, were found. This was a count season of record totals for the state for a number of species. Factors contributing to this include the number of counts, the number of participants and the weather. More counts (15) were run than in any previous year, and several counts (Lake McConaughy in particular) had a much greater than average number of participants. The weather prior to the count period was mild, and most of the circles had unusually warm count days. The average high was 49, and Calamus-Loup recorded the high for the state at 70 degrees. Precipitation on the day of the count was not a factor for most counts, Ames, Lake McConaughy and Ponca being the exceptions.

Counters in 7 circles found a state record total of 163 Northern Pintail. Likewise the following ducks, mostly at Lake McConaughy, were found in record numbers: Canvasback (337), Redhead (327), Ring-necked Duck (328). A new state high count of 58 Trumpeter Swans from 3 circles was tallied. The 692 Red-tailed Hawks was a new state record, besting the old record of 617 set the previous year. Lake McConaughy counters found 6007 American Coots, bringing the total on all counts to 6163, a new CBC high.

A new record for the state was also set for Belted Kingfisher (68); the previous high was 47 in 2006. Both Downy Woodpecker (657 from all 15 counts) and Hairy Woodpecker (l 29 from 13 of 15 counts) set record state totals. The 92 Yellow-rumped Warblers found on 7 counts more than doubled the prior high count of 42 from the previous year. Likewise the old state record of 3315 American Goldfinch set in 2001 was topped by the 3713 found this year.