A dozen Red-bellied Woodpeckers made for a nice total of this species that is increasing in fits and starts in Maine.
Birds That Eat Nyjer - Seed-Eating Birds
A Dickcissel was a great find. Just a few are seen in Maine each year. Twenty-two Red-throated Loons and Red-necked Grebes were impressive totals for these diving birds. Shorebirds put on a good show with 15 Dunlin joining the more expected 80 Sanderlings and Purple Sandpipers. Five species of gulls were highlighted by two Black-headed Gulls.
A gull relative, a Parasitic Jaeger, was a fantastic sighting. Black Guillemots, our most common alcid seen from shore, were joined by eight Razorbills and two Atlantic Puffins. Diurnal raptors included a Peregrine Falcon and a Rough-legged Hawk. The most notable land birds were lingering species, no doubt now departed either for eternity or for points south.
Offshore we go to Matinicus Island, 20 miles off the mainland in eastern Penobscot Bay. The January 3 count yielded 41 species. A Green-winged Teal was certainly unexpected, among seven other species of waterfowl. A couple of Northern Gannets and 18 Great Cormorants were nice winter totals. A Ruddy Turnstone was an excellent find. White-winged gulls seem to be uncommon this winter so the one Iceland Gull made for a good discovery. The Moose Island-Jonesport count in eastern Washington County was conducted on December 16 and resulted in a total of 52 species. The most unusual of the 13 waterfowl species was a Green-winged Teal.
Common Eiders were the most abundant duck with counted. Seventeen Northern Gannets made for an excellent count. The forests yielded one Ruffed Grouse and one Spruce Grouse.
Two species of finches were found: 31 American Goldfinches and an excellent duo of Evening Grosbeaks. These standardized censuses are a valuable tool to monitor the abundance of winter birds throughout North America and beyond. The data provide a lens to see how our Maine birds are doing. The first part of the count period December was seasonably cold with a few inches of snow on the ground. Christmas brought a big snowfall to much of the area and brutally cold temperatures that show no signs of abating until the second week of January. A rarity or two may pop up as well.
The counters enjoyed a fine day, accumulating a list of 53 species.
The Common Goldeneyes and 96 Lesser Scaup were all-time highs for this count. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was a great find along with five Red-bellied Woodpeckers. Two falcons were spotted, a Merlin and a Peregrine Falcon. The most surprising songbirds were a Gray Catbird and a Yellow-rumped Warbler.
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Dark-eyed Juncos seem to be very common this winter; the support that observation. Sixty Northern Cardinals set a new count record. Black-capped Chickadees and American Crows were present in lower numbers than expected. A local aberration we hope. Participants found 58 species. This count always produces lots of Common Eiders; this year did not disappoint.
Only four species of gulls were found, the most notable being eight Black-legged Kittiwakes. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and a Northern Flicker would have normally migrated south by mid-December. A Black-and-white Warbler and an American Pipit were excellent finds.
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- Frequently asked questions | BTO - British Trust for Ornithology.
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All were in low numbers. So far, this winter does not look good for northern finch irruptions. The Thomaston-Rockland count, also on December 16, yielded a fine count of 83 species.
Nineteen species of waterfowl appeared, an excellent tally. The best bird of the count was a Yellow-throated Warbler, a species whose nesting range is well to the south of Maine. A total of 55 species appeared this year. Ten species of waterfowl were counted, the most notable being five lingering Ring-necked Ducks. Wild Turkeys put in a strong appearance with birds sighted. Four Red-shouldered Hawks make an excellent total for Maine in the winter. American Robins and Dark-eyed Juncos were particularly common this year with and individuals, respectively.
The data provide a valuable tool to gauge changes in our winter bird populations. As usual, I will devote three columns to results and general patterns from Christmas Bird Counts in Maine. None of these species was present in eastern North America years ago.
All were introduced by human hands. Rock Pigeons can now be found in urban and agricultural areas throughout the United States. Starlings were introduced for a quite different reason.
Frequently asked questions | BTO - British Trust for Ornithology
He released 60 starlings in and 40 more in From those releases, starlings spread across the continent with a population now exceeding million birds. House Finches are native to Mexico and the southwestern United States. In the first half of the 20 th century, House Finches were illegally brought east and sold as cage birds called Hollywood Finches. The colorful males sing readily in captivity. Pet shop owners in New York City and environs caught wind of an impending raid by law enforcement officers and emptied their cages before the raids commenced. From those introductions, House Finches have spread across all of the states east and north of the original range.
The range of introduced birds overlaps now with the original House Finch populations. House Sparrows were introduced in North America first in Brooklyn in and Subsequent introductions occurred in San Francisco in and and in Salt Lake City in and Now House Sparrows are found throughout the Lower 48 states except for southwest Texas and much of Canada.
What Bird Species Will Eat Nyjer?
How to treat introduced birds? Some birders keep life lists in which they do not count introduced birds. Such a birder might report a life list of NIB no introduced birds species in the state of Maine. I think sorting birds into native birds and introduced birds is not a black-and-white issue. I wrote recently about Cattle Egrets, which reached the New World by dispersing from Africa on their own. Within a continent, birds may expand their ranges. Turkey Vultures and Red-bellied Woodpeckers are good examples for Maine. The avifauna of islands is built almost entirely by birds dispersing from mainland areas.
All four species are well-established members of the Maine avifauna. All four of these species interact with our native birds. These species are never far from human habitation so human-friendly native birds are more likely to be influenced by the introduced birds. As seed-eaters, Rock Pigeons can be pests for farmers. The pigeons readily eat seeds planted by farmers and improperly stored grain. Pigeons may compete with other seed-eating birds like sparrows for natural seeds.
Starlings are cavity-nesting birds and compete with native cavity-nesters like woodpeckers, Great Crested Flycatchers, Eastern Bluebirds and even the introduced House Sparrows. We have pretty good evidence that Purple Finches are less abundant in proximity to human dwellings than they were before the arrival of House Finches.
Purple Finches are doing fine in large forested areas where House Finches do not occur. House Sparrows are cavity-nesters and have deleterious effects on wrens, chickadees and Eastern Bluebirds. Like it or not, this quartet of introduced species are important members of our bird communities and deserve our attention. Grebes are familiar diving birds belonging to the Order Podicipediformes. Although there are only 22 species in the order, grebes are found on all continents except Antarctica and on many islands.