By Ron Morris
The Winston-Salem Christmas Bird Count set a new record for the number of species seen. The count on Saturday, Dec. 19th yielded 14,482 birds of 91 species. They were found by 54 birders in 12 teams. The previous record was 87 species in 2013 and 2014.
The most notable birds were the Buff-bellied Hummingbird that has been visiting feeders near Wake Forest since September, a Nashville Warbler and three Orange-crowned Warblers. Below is Cara Woods’ photo of the Nashville Warbler found by the Bethabara team.
This year’s count was held a couple of weeks earlier than the past few years and that meant that a few species of waterfowl that typically arrive a little later in winter were not found.
Other good finds were three Bald Eagles seen by the Northside team; three Bonaparte’s and one Herring Gull in addition to the expected Ring-billed Gulls at Salem Lake; and the two Peregrine Falcons that have been hanging out downtown.
Of particular interest was the number of Red-headed Woodpeckers. They were seen by 7 of 12 teams, mostly in ones and twos, but the Tanglewood team found 7, for a total of 15. This is the second largest number of Red-headed Woodpeckers on the Winston-Salem CBC, after 18 were counted in 1971. The average number of these birds over the past 30 years is less than 2 per year. Many of the Red-headed Woodpeckers were immature birds like the one below photographed by Wayne Petel at Tanglewood in October.
Count week species were a Merlin seen by Hop Hopkins on Kapp Road in Pfafftown and a Bobwhite observed by the Hammonds in northern Forsyth County.