The Knoxville Christmas Bird Count (CBC) was held yesterday. The count itself runs midnight to midnight, but we began at sunrise and at least part of us were still active at sunset. For the past 15 years I have overseen the bird tally of Area 12 North: Lakemoor Hills north to Cherokee Farm and kind of know what to expect.
The first CBC was held in 1900 and ever since has been held annually during the holiday season all across the country. One of the reasons is to not only count the number of species in a given area but to perhaps get a sense of shifts in the bird population and ranges.
And I have observed a few changes in recent years. Although, we didn't find a bald eagle this year, we have in several recent years. The presence of eagles is new. While this year Vickie Henderson saw and heard five fish crows which seem to now have a regular presence in this general section of town, most notably near Third Creek as observed by Sayge Smith and Nick Stahlman.
Rachael Barker was the first to find a red-headed woodpecker, a life-bird for her and a newbie to the county. Their numbers seem to be growing here. Dr. Cheryl Greenacre and Dr. Abby Duvall found and photographed a barred owl. It's always fun finding one of these during the day.
This year we tallied 50 species, 973 total birds. Perhaps the biggest surprise to me is that we were not able find any winter wrens, golden-crowned kinglets or brown creepers. Species that are here only in winter and usually findable.
A hugh thank you to all who helped search with me: Dr. Cheryl Greenacre, Dr. Abby Duvall, Nick Stahlman, Sayge Smith, Rachael Barker and Vickie Henderson.