Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Early birds identified during Christmas count


February 15, 2018 | View PDF

More than 2,000 birds of 40 species were spotted in Haines for the 118th Audubon Christmas Bird Count in December.

Organizer Pam Randles said 96 people counted 2,419 birds on Dec. 14, including fifth through eighth grade students in Jordan Baumgartner’s science classes. No one in Mosquito Lake participated this year.

Randles said the weather was overcast with variable wind and intermittent rain, with temperatures ranging from 34 to 50 degrees. All participants either walked or drove and kept an eye out for passing birds.

“Most of the species reported were the usual suspects,” Randles said. “There were two species of sparrow, Belted Kingfishers and a Hooded Merganser that usually arrive later in the spring. Normally we see moderately large rafts of Barrow’s Goldeneyes with a few Common Goldeneyes in the winter.”

Also seen were Surf Scoters, with a few White-winged Scoters and occasionally a Black Scoter. Randles said this year there were high counts for Common Goldeneyes and Black Scoters.

Since then, Randles said there has been an early arrival of Robins and Varied Thrush, which usually don’t show up in Haines until March.

“There’s not enough data to know for sure why this is happening, but my guess would be the way that the climate is going bonkers,” Randles said.

Haines bird enthusiasts keep track of their sightings on the Haines Birders Facebook page.


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