Southeast Rareties - Fall 2015
By Amy Courtney
The first rare bird that Juneau had this past month was aRose-breasted Grosbeak that Jessica Millsaps found on Gene St. in the valley (9/11). It was found by other birders in various spots throughout the neighborhood till at least 9/20. This species is quite rare in Juneau (the last record is from 2002).
As rare as the grosbeak was, an even more unexpected find came less than a mile away on 9/19. Marsha and Owen Squires spotted a maleHooded Oriole happily sipping nectar from the comfrey in the Community Garden. It is wonderful that the credit for this astonishing find, a FIRST RECORD FOR ALASKA, goes in part to a 14 year old (Owen)! Over the next three days, many birders from around the state came to marvel at the oriole, though it seems to have disappeared after the 22nd. Hooded Orioles normally breed no farther north than northern California, and this time of year they should be well on their way to Mexico!
This next bird was in Gustavus, not Juneau, but too amazing not to mention. On 9/22, hot on the heels of the two rarities in Juneau, Emma Johnson and Steve Schaller spotted a strikingYellow-throated Warbler feeding on insects next to the Glacier Bay NP headquarters building in Bartlett Cove. This too was a first record for Alaska, and even further out of its normal range than the Hooded Oriole was! Yellow-throated Warblers breed only as far north as Iowa, and as far west as central Texas. They usually spend their winters in the extreme southeast of the country. This fellow was last reported on 9/24.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak by Jessica Millsaps
A big thank you to all the observers who shared their great finds with the rest of the birding community.
New: Merlin BirdPhoto ID
You asked for it! The Merlin Bird ID team has been hard at work with colleagues from Caltech and Cornell Tech to develop computer vision capabilities enabling Merlin to identify birds in digital photos. We’d like you to be among the first to help us test this online tool using your own bird photos or screenshots of birds that you pull from the web. Using a desktop computer or laptop, we invite you to check out Merlin Bird Photo ID.
Wrap Up: GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT 2015
By Brenda Wright, Juneau Audubon
Thanks to everyone who went out into our neighborhoods to count birds February 13-16. You did a great job! http://gbbc.birdcount.org
We found 61 species and submitted over 74 checklists! Of the 61 species counted the Barred owl and King Eider really stood out for me. I’m still looking for them and also any shorebirds. There were black turnstones on our Juneau data so they are out there. If you want to explore our local reports or check out any other location, just go to http://ebird.org/ebird/gbbc/subnational2/US-AK-110?yr=all
on the Great Backyard Bird Count "Explore Data" page. Remember, you can be a citizen scientist year round by entering your bird information on ebird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/
Have fun and enjoy the birds
by Mark Schwan 2014 CBC Results
The Juneau Christmas Bird Count for 2014 was held on December 14. We had mild weather with virtually no snow cover but standing fresh waters were mostly frozen. Thirty field observers and several feeder watchers found 71 species and 7,199 individual birds on count day, plus an additional eight species were located during the other days of our count week (see attached table). Our total count of individual birds was the lowest in nearly 30 years, which included an all-time low count for Surf Scoter. Other water species were in low numbers and the Glaucous-winged Gull count was likely affected by the fact that the count was held on a Sunday, and the landfill was not operating. Gull, eagle and raven numbers in the immediate Lemon Creek area were lower than usual.
The biggest highlight of the count day was the Long-eared Owl found by Deanna and Brian MacPhail on the west side of the Mendenhall River near the end of Industrial Blvd. This species had never been seen on a Christmas Bird Count anywhere in Alaska. Other highlights included a Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk and American Kestrel, both birds that have continued to linger in our area. Several Anna’s Hummingbirds have been frequenting local feeders this fall but only one was seen on count day. A very late Orange-crowned Warbler seen several times along the airport dike trail prior to the count day, ended up being a count week species.
Again, the bird tally and potluck were held after the count at the home of Debi Ballam and Mark Schwan. As always, it was a great way to end the day. Thanks to all who participated
Juneau and Southeast Christmas Counts summarized by the Capital City Weekly. Click here.
Christmas Bird Counts Planned for Southeast Alaska
*Website for more information: sites.google.com/site/skagwaybirdclub
** The pre-count organizational meeting is January 1, 6 p.m., at the Raptor Center.
Join a popular citizen science by watching the birds at your feeders. Data collection begins on November 8.
Check out the web page for more information and how to start http://feederwatch.org/ . Data is especially scarce for Southeast Alaska, so please consider adding to our knowledge about our winter bird populations.
2014 GBBC Update Click here
Participants in 135 countries around the globe submitted more than 144,000 checklists. Canada made a stellar contribution with 13,458 checklists. The Northern Cardinal appeared on more checklists than any other bird, while the Red-winged Blackbird was the most numerous species, with more than 1.6 million individuals counted. Visit the GBBC website for more count highlights, including Top 10 Lists (http://gbbc.birdcount.org/news/top-10-lists/ ).
"4" face="Times New Roman,Times New Roman"> Update
The 2013 count was held in February, and birders in Juneau observed 61 species during the count weekend. Mallards, Canada Geese, Greater Scaup, Rock Sandpipers, Mew Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Northwest Crow, Common Redpoll, and Pine Siskin were the highest number of individuals counted. We hope more people will get involved in counting and adding their information to the ebird site. 61 species is a great accomplishment for winter, but not a single woodpecker was counted. It’s really fun to add your birding enjoyment to the citizen science data base. It’s fun for us and helpful to the birds we enjoy watching. Thanks to all the local birders who contribute! The top listers in February were Gus van Vliet, Patty Rose, David Schmerge, Art Kolter, Merrill Jensen, Amy Clark Courtney, Jeanne Josephson, Brenda Wright, and Anne Sutton. Check out the web pages and join the crowd! Click here to explore more of the data just visit the website: www.birdsource.org/gbbc or www.ebird.org Enjoy!
For 2012 GBBC results for Alaska by city and by year click here.
2013 Juneau Christmas Bird Count
The Juneau Christmas Bird Count for 2013 was held on Saturday, January 4, 2014. The designated count period runs from December 14th through January 5th. This marks the 114th year of the CBC, with counts planned across the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Here in Juneau, this was our 41th count. History of the Christmas Bird Count
American Tree Sparrow -- Mark Schwan
The Juneau Christmas Bird Count for 2012 was held on December 15. We again lucked out on the weather, as the prior day was absolutely miserable, but then conditions improved markedly for count day. Leading up to the count, we didn’t expect a great diversity of birds, as wintery conditions for some time had pushed many lingering birds to the south.
Twenty eight field observers found 66 species and 12,183 individual birds on count day, plus an additional ten species were located during the other days of our count week (see attached table). Our total count of individual birds was above average but this was the case only because of a record smashing number of mallards; many species were seen in low numbers. All the common species that have been seen on the previous 39 counts were found once again. The biggest highlights of the count day included a Snowy Owl on the wetlands found by Nick Hajdukovich and Amy Clark Courtney, and the Sooty Grouse found by Julie Coghill near the Treadwell Ditch on Douglas Island. Other highlights included the continued presence of the Swamp Sparrow near Temsco Helicopters, and a terrific variety of waterfowl on the wetlands and the lower Mendenhall River.
Again, we had the bird tally and potluck at our house at the end of the day; it was a very nice evening. Thanks to all who participated.
For more information or if you have questions, call Mark Schwan, at 789- 9841.
See the January, 2013 edition of the Raven for the results of the Juneau Christmas Bird count and other communities in southeast Alaska. Click here.
21th Thanksgiving Bird Count: November 22th, 2012
All right! Bring out your pencils and your envelope and stamps! Its time to participate in a non-electronic count of birds for JUST ONE HOUR on Thanksgiving Day, 2012. Its the perfect opportunity to enjoy the wonderful odors of your favorite holiday meal, or if later in the day, time to recuperate from the great meal you had.
The instructions are simple and are included on the count form.
Choose a bird feeder or other area you would like to observe, but the count area is just 15 feet in diameter. Count the birds for 1 hour (try not to count birds twice) and that's it. The address to send your count form is on the form. This is the first year you can submit your count on line by emailing:
Any one that sends in a count form will receive a newsletter with the results early next year.