Friday, December 11, 2015

Tucson Valley Ranks #2 in High Counts

Lazuli Bunting
Tucson Valley had the national high count of Lazuli Bunting in 2014 with ten individuals.

Just two weeks ago National Audubon officially released the results of last year's Christmas Bird Count on their website,

Of most interest to me was the article by Brent Ortego titled:

The 115th CBC Summary of Highest Counts of Individual Species for the United States

In it I found that Tucson Valley ranked second in the nation for the number of high counts – 17 species. It's worth noting that the #1 count, Matagorda County – Mad Island Marsh, Texas, for which Brent is compiler, is always a bit of an anomaly, something of a twilight zone for rarities and big numbers. They also have the national high count for species every year, last year with 234.

In my previous analysis, I didn't count on the fact that no other CBC would have more than 1 Bell's Vireo, Virginia's Warbler, and Lucy's Warbler, and we tied a few other counts for those high counts. I also didn't realize that 10 Lazuli Buntings would be the high count, but Patagonia (the usual leader) only had 2, and Ramsey Canyon (also sometimes the leader) didn't have a real CBC last year.

The Springfield, Illinois CBC was the dark horse that pushed us out of the annual high for Rock Pigeon – by only 5 individuals. And the San Diego reported six Summer Tanagers, two more than we did.

Here's the official list for our high counts in 2014:

Cooper's Hawk: 136
Mourning Dove: 5570
Broad-billed Hummingbird: 59
Gila Woodpecker: 787
Vermilion Flycatcher: 384
Bell's Vireo: 1
Plumbeous Vireo: 19
Cassin's Vireo: 12
Verdin: 877
Virginia's Warbler: 1
Lucy's Warbler: 1
Black-throated Gray Warbler: 29
Louisiana Waterthrush: 1
Lazuli Bunting: 10
Yellow-headed Blackbird: 19055
House Finch: 5667
Lesser Goldfinch: 2486

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