February 20, 2014
Although data are still coming in, it’s clear that the 2014 Great Backyard Bird Count is on track to be another record-breaker! By mid-morning today participants from a record 131 countries had submitted bird checklists, eclipsing last year’s 110 countries. A huge thanks to all who participated! We wanted to share some of the impressive numbers we have so far and a few of the trends we see.
Top 10 most frequently reported species (number of checklists reporting this species):
|Northern Cardinal, Ella Clem|
|Species||Number of Checklists|
Top 10 most numerous species (sum of the number of individuals observed across all checklists):
|Snow Geese, Larry Jordan|
|Species||Number of Individuals|
Checklists have come from Australia, China, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Iceland, India, Kenya, and even Antarctica! In Canada, participants in British Columbia have racked up the highest provincial species total (192). Participation in the Maritime Provinces is also up with reports from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador already outstripping last year’s totals even before all the data has been entered.
India is the clear superstar outside of North America with more than 3,000 checklists and the greatest number of species reported, a whopping 806!
|Country||Number of Species||Number of Checklists|
In North America, California sits atop the leader board with the most checklists and the greatest number of species so far, but New York is nipping at its heels for the checklist record. Ontario, Canada, has jumped into the top 10 for checklists, outdistancing even big birdy states such as Texas, Florida, and North Carolina.
|State/Province||Number of Species||Number of Checklists|
These checklist and species numbers will continue to rise as GBBC participants enter their data for the four days of the count through the end of the month. Although much more data have yet to be recorded, here are some of the trends noted so far.
- Fewer Finches
After last year’s “superflight,” this year’s GBBC reports for 10 irruptive species (mostly finches) are down considerably. This includes reports for the White-winged and Red crossbills, Common and Hoary redpolls, Pine and Evening grosbeaks, Pine Siskin, Purple Finch, Red-breasted Nuthatches, and Bohemian Waxwings. These are believed to be natural fluctuations in numbers because of variation in seed crops.
- Snowy Owl Invasion Continues
A massive irruption of Snowy Owls into the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and Great Lakes States of the U.S., as well as southeastern Canada, is easily seen in GBBC numbers. Preliminary results show participants reported more than 2,500 Snowy Owls in 25 states and 7 provinces of the U.S. and Canada!
- The Polar Vortex Effect
The frigid cold in many parts of North America has resulted in unusual movements of waterfowl and grebes. With the Great Lakes almost completely frozen, some species, such as the White-winged Scoter and the Long-tailed Duck, have fled the frozen lakes and stopped at inland locations where they are not usually found at this time of year.
Do some exploring on your own with the new “Explore a Location” tool. See what species are being reported and how many checklists are being turned in at the county, state/province, and country levels. And don’t forget to browse some of the awesome photos being submitted for the GBBC photo contest–and enter your own!