by Craig Hohenberger

The 48th annual Bigfork Christmas Bird Count was held Saturday, December 18th, under cloudy skies and snow throughout the day, with mild SSW winds. Snow depths were about 7 inches at the eastern edges of the count circle and 2-3 inches in the valley; temperatures ranged from 15-26 degrees F.  Lakes and ponds were mostly frozen and Flathead Lake and River were ice free. 

Thirty-four volunteer participants counted 15,322 individual birds of 91 species. Number of birds were up measurably from last year’s totals of 14,005, and the number of species increased by 13 birds to 91. There was one new bird species an Osprey, found on this year’s bird count. Highlights were a Wood Duck, Spotted Towhee, and a Brown-headed Cowbird. 

There were many count week birds including a Cackling Goose, Gyrfalcon, Mew Gull, Snowy Owl, and a Lesser Goldfinch. Trumpeter Swans and Red-tailed (Harlan’s) Hawk were the only species with a high all-time tallies this year.

Thank you to all the incredible participants who helped make the Bigfork CBC count a very enjoyable and a fun experience.

Pied-billed Grebe1Rough-legged Hawk24Mountain Chickadee72
Horned Grebe12Golden Eagle1Chestnut-backed Chickadee37
Western Grebe7American Kestrel1Chickadee sp.9
Great Blue Heron4Merlin2Red-breasted Nuthatch35
Canada Goose2972GyrfalconcwWhite-breasted Nuthatch8
Cackling GoosecwPrairie Falcon1Pygmy Nuthatch26
Double-crested Cormorant1Ring-necked Pheasant37Brown Creeper6
Trumpeter Swan110Ruffed Grouse5Marsh Wren1
Tundra Swan21Wild Turkey320American Dipper4
Swan sp.7Gray Partridge8Golden-crowned Kinglet24
Mallard1278American Coot4457Townsend’s Solitaire26
Northern Shoveler2Mew GullcwAmerican Robin9
Gadwall9Ring-billed Gull27European Starling88
American Wigeon2Herring  Gull13Bohemian Waxwing222
Canvasback15gull, sp.73Cedar Waxwing90
Redhead663Rock Pigeon20Spotted Towhee1
Wood Duck1Mourning Dove118American Tree Sparrow20
Ring-necked Duck1Eurasian Collared-Dove102Song Sparrow36
Greater Scaup39Great Horned Owl2Dark-eyed Junco100
Lesser Scaup9Snowy OwlcwRed-winged Blackbird205
Bufflehead36Northern Pygmy-Owl2Yellow-headed Blackbird1
Common Goldeneye244Belted Kingfisher4Brewer’s Blackbird80
Barrow’s Goldeneye2Downy Woodpecker17Brown-headed Cowbird1
Hooded Merganser26Hairy Woodpecker11Pine Grosbeak1
Common Merganser59Northern Flicker124House Finch355
Duck sp.1507Pileated Woodpecker6Red Crossbill16
Osprey1Northern Shrike7Common Redpoll93
Bald Eagle44Steller’s Jay2Cassin’s Finch2
Northern  Harrier9Blue Jay34Pine Siskin78
Sharp-shinned Hawk2Black-billed Magpie105American Goldfinch71
Cooper’s Hawk1American Crow277Evening Grosbeak30
Northern Goshawk2Common Raven190Lesser Goldfinchcw
Red-tailed Hawk21Black-capped Chickadee401House Sparrow59
Red-tailed (Harlan’s) Hawk   8


Rod Wallette      Kathy Ross   Pam Willison   Bob Lee     Bob Smith       Paula Smith     Jake Bramante    Debbie Moon       Leslie Kehoe   Craig Hohenberger     Denny Olson   Linda & John Winnie   Rosemary & John McKinnon  Cory Davis     Pat Jaquith    Dave Manuwal      Michell Tyler    Margaret Parodi   Linda Ramsay DeKort   Will Beyer  Gael Bissell  Michele Tolitz    B J Worth   Dan & Susannah Casey   Lauren Casey   Linette David   Raylene Wall  Shawn Richmond   Lynda Saul    Sally Edwards  Al Johnson   Clancy Cone   Bobby Tilton  Patty Archibald