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2012 Christmas Bird Count RESULTS

December 29, 2012

129 species tallied (count day + count week)
Count day: 123 species
Count week: additional 6 species
Individual birds: 47,998 birds
Observers: 182

Seattle CBC Compiler: Matt Bartels


Overall, the 2012 count came in with almost exactly the average # of species recorded as for the past 10 years  (We tallied 123 on count day vs. 122.5 as a 10-year average). The total number of birds tallied was almost identical to last year (only 275 fewer this year, out of 48000) -- our second lowest total in the past 15 years (only 2010 tallied fewer birds). This continues a recent trend of lower totals. In addition to the 123 species seen on count day, 6 additional species were noted on Count Week but not during count-day: Snow Goose, Tundra Swan, Cinnamon Teal,  Short-eared Owl , Common Raven & Evening Grosbeak.

Highlight birds of the day: The star bird of the day may well have been Red Crossbill. The last time Red Crossbills were recorded in triple digits was in 1926. This year recorded 712, with reports coming from 12 of the 14 sectors! We recorded our first ever Brown Pelican on this year’s count. The 2 Snowy Owls that have made Ballard their home this winter were recorded on count day. In addition, an American Dipper was seen in the Bellevue portion of the circle, the first time we’ve recorded Dipper since 2000. One Red-naped Sapsucker, seen in the Arboretum, was an unexpected addition, as was a Long-tailed Duck in West Seattle.

Notable misses: Ruddy Duck (continuing a long-running decline), Northern Harrier, Mourning Dove, Western Screech-Owl, Common Raven (count week only), Savannah Sparrow, Slate-colored Dark-eyed Junco, and Evening Grosbeak (count week only).

Record high counts: For the modern period (1972-present), high counts were recorded for 12 species including: Greater White-fronted Goose [17]; Ring-necked Duck [718]; Surf Scoter [1279]; Brown Pelican [1]; Pigeon Guillemot [69]; Barn Owl [3 – tie w/ 2009]; Northern Saw-whet Owl [3 – tie w/ 1990 & 2007]; Hairy Woodpecker [7 – tie w/ 2010]; Red-breasted Nuthatch [266]; American Dipper [1 – tied w/ many years]; Yellow-rumped Warbler [308]; Red Crossbill [712].


 Ducks & Geese – Numbers were a little low this year, but mostly close to recent averages, with Ring-necked Ducks, Surf Scoters & Greater White-fronted Geese being the exceptions on the high end. White-winged Scoters [5] & Black Scoters [34], Northern Pintail [5], and Ruddy Duck [0] continue to decline for the count.

Both California Quail & Ring-necked Pheasant eluded the CBC counters this year. Quail remain in the count area in small pockets, but Pheasant seem to be completely gone.

Loons & Grebes –Present in better than average numbers across the board, including Western Grebe [1133], a species that has seen numbers improve over the past 5 years.

Raptors: Overall numbers of raptors reported was a bit lower than average this year, with only Peregrine Falcon [9] being tallied above the ten-year average. Surprisingly low numbers for Sharp-shinned Hawks [4] and Merlin [5] were hopefully just anomalies of the day.

Shorebirds, Gulls & Alcids: Only 30 Killdeer were reported this year, the second lowest total for Killdeer over the past 15 years. Likewise, the Black Turnstone [8] & Surfbird [39] flocks must have been hiding, with numbers lowest in over 10 years. Bonaparte’s Gulls [14] & Mew Gulls [1223] were present in above average numbers, while the totals for larger gulls were mostly a bit below average.  Alcids continue a long CBC trend of showing up in above average numbers across the board.

Passerines: Overall the results for most passerines were about average, with Red-breasted Nuthatch [266], Brown Creeper [90], Pacific Wren [188], and Golden-crowned Kinglets [1085], and Varied Thrush [195] all being above average. Yellow-rumped Warblers [308] were up, while Townsend’s Warblers [11] were well below average. Pine Siskins [3952] joined Red Crossbills [712] as the stand-out finch species, while the lack of Evening Grosbeaks except on Count Week continued a long trend of decline.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Full Species List


Greater White-fronted Goose (17)

Snow Goose (CW)

Brant (73)

Cackling Goose (1)

Canada Goose (651)

Trumpeter Swan (18)

Tundra Swan (CW)

[swan sp. (7)]

Wood Duck (14)

Gadwall (461)

Eurasian Wigeon (11)

American Wigeon (1922)

Mallard (1126)

Cinnamon Teal (CW)

Northern Shoveler (79)

Northern Pintail (5)

Green-winged Teal  (102)

Canvasback (16)

Redhead (8)

Ring-necked Duck (718)

Greater Scaup (448)

Lesser Scaup (390)

[scaup sp. (131)]

Harlequin Duck (90)

Surf Scoter (1279)

White-winged Scoter (5)

Black Scoter (34)

[scoter sp. (11)]

Long-tailed Duck (1)

Bufflehead (937)

Common Goldeneye (415)

Barrow's Goldeneye (423)

Hooded Merganser (62)

Common Merganser (315)

Red-breasted Merganser (342)

[duck sp. (11)]

Red-throated Loon (42)

Pacific Loon (41)

Common Loon (19)

[loon sp. (2)]

Pied-billed Grebe (160)

Horned Grebe (380)

Red-necked Grebe (164)

Eared Grebe (2)

Western Grebe (1133)

Brandt's Cormorant (72)

Double-crested Cormorant (781)

Pelagic Cormorant (36)


Brown Pelican (1)

Great Blue Heron (46)

Bald Eagle (65)

[Bald Eagle adult (52)]

[Bald Eagle immature (8)]

[Bald Eagle unspecified (5)]

Sharp-shinned Hawk (4)

Cooper's Hawk (22)

[Accipiter sp. (3)]

Red-tailed Hawk (28)

Virginia Rail (4)

American Coot (4246)

Killdeer (30)

Spotted Sandpiper (3)

Black Turnstone (8)

Surfbird (39)

Sanderling (70)

[sandpiper sp. (1)]

Dunlin (7)

Wilson's Snipe (18)

Bonaparte's Gull (14)

Mew Gull (1223)

Ring-billed Gull (143)

Western Gull (5)

[Western x Glaucous-winged Gull (701)]

California Gull (19)

Herring Gull (5)

Thayer's Gull (2)

Glaucous-winged Gull (1150)

[gull sp. (321)]

Common Murre (156)

Pigeon Guillemot (69)

Marbled Murrelet (4)

Rhinoceros Auklet (91)

Rock Pigeon (1222)

Band-tailed Pigeon (30)

Barn Owl (3)

Great Horned Owl (2)

Snowy Owl (2)

Barred Owl  (8)

Short-eared Owl (CW)

Northern Saw-whet Owl (3)

Anna's Hummingbird (286)

Belted Kingfisher (25)

Red-naped Sapsucker (1)

Red-breasted Sapsucker (3)

Downy Woodpecker (53)

Hairy Woodpecker (7)

Northern Flicker (258)

[Northern (Red-shafted) (258)]


Pileated Woodpecker (17)

Merlin (5)

Peregrine Falcon (9)

Northern Shrike (2)

Hutton's Vireo (2)

Steller's Jay (194)

Western Scrub-Jay (5)

American Crow (5551)

Common Raven (CW)

Black-capped Chickadee (1578)

Chestnut-backed Chickadee (379)

Bushtit (873)

Red-breasted Nuthatch (266)

Brown Creeper (90)

Pacific Wren (188)

Marsh Wren (15)

Bewick's Wren (234)

American Dipper (1)

Golden-crowned Kinglet (1085)

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (392)

Hermit Thrush (12)

American Robin (2757)

Varied Thrush (195)

European Starling (1666)

Cedar Waxwing (56)

Orange-crowned Warbler (7)

Yellow-rumped Warbler (308)

[Yellow-rumped (Audubon's) (98)]

[Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) (5)]

[Yellow-rumped unspecified (205)]

Townsend's Warbler (11)

Spotted Towhee (268)

Fox Sparrow (122)

Song Sparrow (767)

Lincoln's Sparrow (11)

White-throated Sparrow (2)

White-crowned Sparrow (52)

Golden-crowned Sparrow (172)

Dark-eyed Junco (1101)

[Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco (1101)]

Red-winged Blackbird (201)

Purple Finch (7)

House Finch (651)

Red Crossbill (712)

Pine Siskin (3952)

American Goldfinch (334)

Evening Grosbeak (CW)

House Sparrow (391)

[passerine, sp. (1)]

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