The 52nd Libby Christmas bird count took place December 18 with 9 field observers and 6 feeder watchers. The temperature ranged from a low in the morning of 18 degrees to an afternoon high of 25 with little to no wind. The day did feature snowfall from light to quite heavy nearly all day making conditions challenging for birds and birders alike.
The Kootenai River was at maximum discharge from Libby Dam which typically reduces our waterfowl count significantly and our river floaters did not float. Our Bald eagle count was the highest ever recorded with 158 birds (90 adults and 68 immature), most of which were in the first 3 miles below the dam. The large number is likely influenced by the high water discharge which makes Kokanee salmon and trout more available as they come through the turbines a bit disoriented to say the least. The feeding frenzy resembled the MacDonald Creek Apgar bridge in the 70’s.
We recorded 41 species and 1722 birds total which was less than half of last year’s total.