Lakewood Christmas Christmas Bird Count
December 30.2012

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

6:45 AM to 16:30

70 Participants


The 2012 Christmas Bird Count for the Lakewood Circle was superb in many ways and very different, weather wise.  The snow that began on Christmas day did not let up so by the CBC date, Sunday, December 30, snow depth in many placed reached 12 inches … sometimes more.  Rather heavy flurries continued on the morning of December 30, but cleared around noon. By 4:30 PM the sun was peeking from behind clouds and a lovely sunset closed the day. 

Visibility was difficult for those looking long distances, such as over Lake Erie or when a huge flake crashed into your eye. Temperatures (F) hovered in the mid 20’s and climbed a degree or two higher to around 27 degrees F.  Depending on where one was the winds were either gusty or non existent.     


Lake Erie was wide open as were moving waters such as rivers and streams. Many smaller lakes and ponds had iced over or had little open water.  Birdfeeders seemed to be a good place to watch birds since plentiful food means a variety of birds. Natural fruits and seeds were sporadic. Some grasses and forbs were snow covered, but in other areas were still exposed above the snow. Fruits were either totally stripped from trees, but again in other areas the fruiting trees were loaded. Possibly the birds had not found them yet. Sweetgum (Liquidambar syraciflua) trees in a cemetery proved to be valuable in attracting the winter finches that were located on the count.


Initial lists and numbers from Sunday, December 30 seem rather normal as to species seen in our circle. Then again several surprises that just are not expected in our area at this time of year did crop up. The prediction of a winter finch irruption came true. Following is the list of 81 species (79 species on count day and 2 during count week) as of January 7, 2013. Looking at the list it is one of the BEST lists in a long time. 


Waterfowl seem to be fairly normal with regard to what species are expected. No unusual dabbler species was sighted. Diving and big water ducks were down in numbers due to the wide open waters of Lake Erie as well as the difficulty in seeing with the snow and fog.  No Canvasback were sighted this year. The Black Scoter was a nice find and tallying all three species of Mergansers is nice.


In the past years Wild Turkey sightings have been on the rise, nothing this year, not even on count week. Snow too deep?


Raptors made a reasonable showing, with the Northern Harrier a good addition (actually viewed capturing a pigeon), as was the single Sharp-shinned Hawk.  The number of Red-shouldered Hawks was down this year.  A single Kestrel and Peregrine Falcon were lower than expected numbers and our usual Merlin was not sighted the day of the count, but made it to count week.


Gulls were the usuals that are expected with Ring-bills highest in number.  Again, poor visibility at the lakefront made looking at gray gulls against a gray sky and snow and fog … you get it.


Three species of owl and almost all of the woodpeckers with the exception of the sapsucker filled our list nicely. Hold on folks, since late summer a Rufous Hummingbird was being hosted at a feeder in North Olmsted and it was still coming to the yard and feeder on count day. What a nice surprise and addition to the list.  We hope it continues and does well through the remainder of the winter. The number of American Crows was low this year (was it a bad summer for West Nile virus for them?) Feeder species, such as the Chickadee, Titmouse and Nuthatches were in good numbers.  Despite the fall announcements of Red-breasted Nuthatch being seen in many areas and at many feeders, our number didn’t seem to reflect a huge influx.  Perhaps they moved elsewhere. 


Speaking of moving elsewhere, where were Winter Wren, Kinglets, Eastern Bluebird, and Hermit Thrush?? Most years we add at least a couple of these species … not this year and not even during count week.  Even Cedar Waxwing were tough to find, but a few small flocks were tallied.  A goodie along the lake was the American Pipit sighting as it foraged along the Lake Erie shoreline.  We all like goodies and let’s add another; a single Ovenbird has been over wintering in a yard, being fed chopped nuts and mealworms.  It too was seen on count day. 


A pretty good list of sparrows is noted, but a low number of Swamp Sparrows and a rather high number of Dark-eyed Junco … but wait, wait, there’s more – two small flocks of Snow Bunting were seen, again along the lakeshore.  Nobody seems to get too excited about blackbirds, but this count tallied Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Rusty Blackbird and Brown-headed Cowbird, hey, four species we don’t often get.


An irruption of winter finches didn’t let us down with the birds at feeders and, as mentioned earlier, in one cemetery.  Red and White-winged Crossbills were terrific for this count as were the Common Redpoll and Pine Siskin. While numbers were low, mostly single digits, having them on the count was a great find.


Here’s the list: Count Week species are in italics, rare or unusual species are bold.


  1. Canada Goose            1095
  2. Tundra Swan                   69
  3. Mallard                           711
  4. American Black Duck       11
  5. Northern Shoveler             1
  6. Gadwall                             8
  7. Redhead                          20
  8. Greater Scaup                 26
  9. Lesser Scaup                   15
  10. White-winged Scoter        cw
  11. Black Scoter                    14
  12. Bufflehead                         23
  13. Common Goldeneye        128
  14. Red-breasted Merganser   987
  15. Hooded Merganser               9
  16. Common Merganser           14
  17. Ruddy Duck                          1
  18. Common Loon                      2
  19. Horned Grebe                       1
  20. Pied-billed Grebe                  5
  21. Great Blue Heron                  4
  22. Bald Eagle                             6
  23. Northern Harrier                  1
  24. Sharp-shinned Hawk             1
  25. Cooper’s Hawk                    13
  26. Red-tailed Hawk                  21
  27. Red-shouldered Hawk        2
  28. American Kestrel                1
  29. Merlin                                cw
  30. Peregrine Falcon                1
  31. American Coot                    1
  32. Ring-billed Gull             13,768
  33. Herring Gull                         94
  34. Great Black-backed Gull    21
  35. Bonaparte’s Gull              3039
  36. Rock Pigeon                      326
  37. Mourning Dove                  164
  38. Great Horned Owl                 1
  39. Barred Owl                            3
  40. Eastern Screech Owl            1 
  41. Belted Kingfisher                   7
  42. Rufous Hummingbird          1
  43. Red-headed Woodpecker      3
  44. Red-bellied Woodpecker      56
  45. Downy Woodpecker             72
  46. Hairy Woodpecker                15
  47. Northern Flicker                      1
  48. Pileated Woodpecker              7
  49. American Crow                     41
  50. Blue Jay                               224
  51. Black-capped Chickadee     180
  52. Tufted Titmouse                     61
  53. White-breasted Nuthatch       52
  54. Red-breasted Nuthatch          12
  55. Brown Creeper                         1
  56. Carolina Wren                         13
  57. American Robin                     319
  58. Northern Mockingbird               4
  59. European Starling                 1271
  60. American Pipit                         2
  61. Cedar Waxwing                       24
  62. Ovenbird                                  1
  63. American Tree Sparrow           58
  64. Song Sparrow                          35
  65. Swamp Sparrow                        2
  66. White-throated Sparrow          124
  67. White-crowned Sparrow            2
  68. Dark-eyed Junco                     266
  69. Snow Bunting                          16
  70. Northern Cardinal                    176
  71. Red-winged Blackbird              4
  72. Common Grackle                      2
  73. Rusty Blackbird                        1
  74. Brown-headed Cowbird           3
  75. House Finch                            135
  76. Red Crossbill                            3
  77. White-winged Crossbill           5
  78. Common Redpoll                     8
  79. Pine Siskin                              12
  80. American Goldfinch                 210
  81. House Sparrow                      1347




Seventy (70) participants located species and reported them. Lots of hard work went into the 2012 Lakewood Christmas Bird Count so thank you to the following: (apologies to those whose names I do not have).


Jay Abercrombie, Jan Auburn, Ken and Lois Ballas, Buster Banish, Mary Bartos, Kit and Dennis Birch, Kathleen Bradley, Nancy Brewer, Susan and Kurt Brocone, Erik Bruder, Martha Burrows, Craig Caldwell, Sue and Lee Cavano, Patricia Cook, Barb Cromer, Bill Deininger, David Dvorak, Mark Eberling, Nora Ebie, Doug Faulkner, Maria and Rick Finchum, Bob Finkelstein, Elise Fleming, Joanne and Terry Gorges, Jim Hamilton, Jim Heflich, Heather Hodges, Nancy and Don Howell, Mary Lou Hura, Anna Julnes, Lothar and Inge Jung, Rich Kassouf, Jeff Kraus, Irene Krise, JoAnn Kubicki, Ray Kutnar, Paula Lozano, Michelle Manzo, Terri Martincic, Bret McCarty, Jim McCarty, Liz McQuaid, Marianne Nolan, Penny O’Connor and Page Stephens, Michael Pasek, Elza Phillips, Chris Pierce, Craig Rieker, Tom and Mary Anne Romito, Larry Rosche, Linda Sekura, Judy Semroc, Paul Sherwood, Chuck Slusarczyk, Jr., Jessie St. Christopher, Helen Taft, Kathleen Tiburzi, Bev Walborn, John Wincek and David Yoo.

Ovenbird © Dave Dvorak

Belted Kingfisher at Zoo
Belted Kingfisher at Zoo © Mary Anne Romito

Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society, 4310 Bush Ave, Cleveland, OH 44109