by Craig Hohenberger, compiler

The 45th annual Bigfork Christmas Bird Count was held Saturday, December 15th, under cloudy skies, periodic “snow bands,” and strong SSE winds (10-17 mph) in the morning. The afternoon weather conditions were considerably better for birding, with good visibility and diminished winds. Snow depths were non-existent and/or limited to the eastern edges of the count circle; temperatures ranged from 32-43 degrees F. Rivers and lakes were mostly open and there was no ice on Flathead Lake.

Thirty-three volunteer participants counted 17,722 individual birds of 87 species, down from a record 98 species recorded last year. The overall number of birds decreased from last year’s total of 18,847 birds. There were no new bird species found this year on the count. Highlights were a Double-crested Cormorant, Snow Geese, Spotted Towhee, White-crowned Sparrow, and a Yellow-headed Blackbird. There was one Coopers Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and an American Kestrel observed during count week. We had a record high of 202 Canvasbacks, 2240 Redheads, 5 (tied) Wilson Snipes, 269 Red-breasted Nuthatches, 161 Dark-eyed Juncos, and 358 Pine Siskins. for the count.

Thank you to all the wonderful participants who helped make the Bigfork CBC count a very enjoyable experience!

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