Since 1900, a Christmas Bird Count sponsored by the Audubon Society counts the species of birds in a specific area and the number of birds in each species. Twenty members of the St. Croix Valley Bird Club met Friday, Dec. 27 to complete a bird survey in the Spring Valley area. The bird watchers must work within a “count circle” that has a diameter of 15 miles. The counters divided up into 6 cars, each group taking a section of the circle. Most of the roads in each section are covered with people watching for species and tallying every bird that they see. The results provide scientists date on the winter ranges of birds and complement the information gathered for the Breeding Bird Surveys.
This year 32 species of birds were spotted. Most were common winter birds: Juncos, Cardinals, Chickadees, Goldfinch, House Sparrows, Pigeons, Starlings, House Finch, Red-tailed Hawks, Crows, Woodpeckers (Downy, Hairy, Red-Bellied), and Wild Turkeys. It is always fun to spot are some of the more “unusual” birds. One was the Northern Shrike which is an unusual songbird since it is a predator of other birds. Sometimes it even impales its prey on barbed wire or other sharp pointed items. An actual Raven caused excitement also. Ravens are larger than the Common Crow and have a wedge-shaped tail. They aren’t as social as crows so aren’t seen in large groups and they “croak” instead of “caw.”
The St. Croix Valley Bird Club also conducts a Christmas Bird Count in the Ellsworth area. Twenty-three members participated in that count and spotted 31 species.
The club also sponsors a speaker’s series. On Saturday, Jan. 18 at the River Falls Public Library, Larry Keller will present Hummingbirds: Facts and Myths. The program begins at 1:00.
Members of the St. Croix Valley Bird Club who conducted the count.