BROOKINGS – Members of the Brookings Birding Club and friends took to the streets and fields to identify and count birds. Others stayed at home to count birds at their feeders. This bird count was part of the Audubon international Christmas Bird Count. Forty-one individuals spent Dece. 19, 2020, walking or driving through a specified area identifying 43 species and over 22,000 birds.
While the majority of birds identified were snow and Ross’s geese and mallard ducks. Other species seen were: goldfinches, robins, crows, kestrels, tree sparrows, bald eagles, black-capped chickadees, blue jays, brown creepers, cedar waxwings, grackles, common redpolls, juncos, downy woodpeckers, starlings collared-doves, golden-crowned kinglets, great horned owls, hairy woodpeckers, horned larks, house finches, house sparrows, mourning doves, northern cardinals, northern flickers, pine siskins, purple finches, red-belllied woodpeckers, red-breasted and white-breasted nuthatches, red-tailed hawks, ring-necked pheasants, rock pigeons, snow buntings swainson’s hawks and wild turkeys. Two seasonal birds seen were short-eared owls and a snowy owl. They migrate south to this area in the winter season.
In 1957, Nelda Holden helped Audubon International define an area of a circle 15 miles in diameter. The area includes Volga, Sinai and Brookings. This area was chosen to include various types of habitats. Lake Campbell, the Sioux River, grasslands and farmlands are surveyed. Holden has coordinated the birders and compiled and reported the data to Audubon for 63 years. This year she passed the torch to Margy Pearson. Holden will stay busy counting birds with the other birders.
Monthly meetings of the Brookings Birding Club will resume when COVID-19 is under control. Meetings are held at 7 p.m. each second Wednesday of the month at the Larson Nature Center of Dakota Nature Park.