Saturday, December 31, 2016

Knox Christmas Bird Count 2016

A cold sunrise, Maxey Dock, Saturday, December 31, 2016

Today was the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) for Knox County. My team met at Maxey's Dock on Maloney Road at sunrise, then split up to go in separate directions and count all the birds we could find on Lakemoor Hills peninsula north to Cherokee Farm Greenway. All within Area #12 of the official count circle. My team has counted this same parcel along the river for almost 15 years.

We are carrying on a grand tradition. In Tennessee the first Audubon CBC happened in Knoxville. According to the late News Sentinel columnist, J. B. Owen, the state's first bird count was made by Magnolia Woodward who tallied birds around her home near Park Avenue. (Later changed to Magnolia Avenue.) A visit to the Audubon website reveals that the count was made on December 1, 1902. In two hours that day the list of birds she counted were: eight flickers, six Carolina chickadees, three tufted titmice, one wren and twelve goldfinches--typical backyard birds for then and now. But Woodward was counting in the days before Knoxville had gulls, starlings, herons, pigeons and Canada geese in winter and all of those birds we found in big numbers.

Today was cold, overcast and dreary with off and on light freezing rain. Not ideal. Most birds puffed up and stayed hunkered down, hidden in some nook or cranny. Thank you to my hardy bundled team: Patty, Eddy, Dr. Cheryl, Vickie and Rachael Eliot. I will total all of our lists as soon as my brain and fingers thaw out.


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