The 20th Kalispell Christmas Bird Count was held on Sunday, December 30. Milder than usual weather (28-35˚ F) and minimal snow cover (2 inches) made for an interesting count.

This count could be dubbed “The Year of the Goose”. We encountered astounding numbers of Canada Geese, which were taking full advantage of the exposed farm fields and cropland. The 8,988 birds counted demolished the previous record of 3,211. Thanks to Dick Walker’s persistence and keen eye, we were able to record the count’s first ever Greater White-fronted Goose (at the junction of Stillwater Road and 4 Mile Drive). A handful of Cackling Geese and a rare Snow Goose rounded out the field of goose species.

A total of 75 species was recorded, a number which is about average for this count. However, several species were found in record numbers. These species included Bald Eagle (105), American Coot (17), Blue Jay (63), White-breasted Nuthatch (11), Cedar Waxwing (345), Dark-eyed Junco (378) and Pine Siskin (740).

Lastly, it was great to see the enthusiasm for this count grow. An impressive 51 field observers and half of a dozen feeder watchers took part. Thanks to all that volunteered their time and energy, it made for a great count.

Happy New Year!, Pete Fisher