Red Wing Christmas Bird Count

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Good weather, skilled birders, as well as sunshine helped make this year's Red Wing Christmas Bird Count one of our best. The total bird species count was 51, with a total of 11,948 birds counted. Most birds were waterfowl because the Mississippi River was partly open. Spotted waterfowl included mallards, common goldeneyes and thousands of common mergansers. Other birds were also fairly active with a temperature of 7-23 degrees — one day before the deep freeze began.

Some birds of note include:

• One trumpeter swan

• One sharp-shinned hawk

• One red-shouldered hawk

• One golden eagle

• One belted kingfisher

• One yellow-bellied sapsucker

• Two American kestrels

• Two Northern shrikes

• 29 tufted titmice

• One brown creeper

• One hermit thrush

• One rusty blackbird

• 10 horned larks

• 17 pine siskins

• 132 common redpolls

A barred owl was seen two days before the count, and is considered a "Count Week Bird," accepted as a species, but not included in the numbers.

Three new bird species for the count list were seen — one American white pelican, one winter wren and one peregrine falcon. This overwintering peregrine had been seen by others previously in Red Wing. As many of you know, in spring peregrines have nested successfully on a nest box, built in Red Wing on a grain elevator through collaboration between Continental Grain and the Raptor Resource Project. A falcon cam has also been added. We all appreciate this wonderful Red Wing Community Project done for the peregrine falcons.

Some of the larger numbers of species counted were:

• 198 wild turkeys

• 263 bald eagles

• 411 rock pigeons

• 127 blue jays

• 305 American crows

• 305 black-capped chickadees

• 89 white-breasted nuthatches

• 679 European Starlings

• 272 dark-eyed juncos

• 70 northern cardinals

• 496 house sparrows

Some missed birds were the overwintering American robins and Eastern bluebirds, only two sparrow species, and no snow buntings or Lapland longspurs.

Each year is different, and it was a remarkable, memorable birding day for all involved.