The first-ever Lee Center Christmas Bird Count was conducted on December 19, 2017. This new count circle takes in both Amboy Marsh Nature Preserve and Gremel Wildlife Sanctuary in Lee County. “This year we found 49 species, down seven from the trial count taken in 2016. Also, fewer individuals were recorded in 2017, attributable in large part to differences in weather conditions,” reported Birdsong Chapter President Diana Rod. Chapter members helping count were Jim Hampson, Jack Hartford, Nancy Wadsworth, Alice Topping, Ernest Topping, Alyssa Rod, Darrell Shambaugh, Gene Rod, and Diana Rod. See the Lee Center CBC Count data here.
The annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) was established in 1900 and provides long-term survey information of bird populations. Initiating this survey and the data collected is especially important to Deb Carey, lead steward at both Illinois Audubon Society properties located within this circle. “We as humans look for immediate response; nature has its own time table. The CBC will be an important tool in measuring the long-term success of our restoration plan,” commented Carey. She added, “Volunteers monitor flora and fauna, before, during and after restoration; the results determine our methods and techniques.”
According to Jim Herkert, Executive Director, “We are looking forward to seeing what these counts can tell us about the sites as our restoration efforts continue. This year’s count contained a nice mix of resident species along with winter visitors. It was good to see large numbers of waterfowl using the water bodies, as well as other residents such as waxwings, crows, horned larks, blue jays, cardinals, chickadees and red-headed woodpeckers. Lapland longspur, red-breasted nuthatch, pine siskin, and a northern shrike were among the highlights on the count.”
According to Carey, “The red-headed woodpecker, a favorite of marsh volunteers and visitors, abounds in our newly restored savanna on High Ridge. Watching the brown-headed juveniles move from tree to tree, vocalizing all the while, is a delightful way to spend crisp winter morning!” Yes, Deb, there is a Santa Clause and bird watching will get you on his good list every time.