by Craig Hohenberger 

The 47th annual Bigfork Christmas Bird Count was held Saturday, December 19, under cloudy skies, periodic light showers, with mild to moderate SW winds throughout the day.  Snow depths were non-existent and/or limited to the higher eastern edges of the count circle; temperatures ranged from 36-46 degrees F. Lakes and ponds were mostly frozen and Flathead Lake and River were ice free.

Thirty-nine volunteer participants counted 13,879 individual birds of 78 species. This is significantly down from last year’s 93 species. The overall number of birds was above last year’s total of 12,664 birds.  There was no new bird species found this yearon the count. Highlights were a Cackling Goose, Wood Duck, and a Brown-headed Cowbird. There were many count week birds including an American Wigeon, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Glaucous Gull, and Cedar Waxwing. There were no high counts for any species. Overall, perhaps it was the mild weather and the open habitat contributed to lower bird species and numbers.

Thank you to all the wonderful participants who helped make the Bigfork CBC count a very enjoyable and fantastic experience during this covid pandemic!