2014 Christmas Bird Count Summary

The 33rd Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count was conducted on December 14, 2014.   A cloudy morning gave way to a sunny, windy afternoon; for the day a total of 121 people counted 89 species and 23,690 birds.   The overall results were very good and in line with the experience of our previous several years and higher than our past 15 year average. The 121 birders are the most we have ever had on our CBC and the 89 species are an all-time high for our count.


Among the interesting finds this year were the first ever sighting of an American Wigeon by Carl Kikuchi and Ann Driscoll and a Common Yellowthroat heard by Sandra Farkas and Rusty Moran. We had all-time high numbers for 11 species: Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, Redhead, Black Vulture, Northern Harrier, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Bluebird, Gray Catbird, White-throated Sparrow, and Eastern Meadowlark. Also, we tied our all-time high numbers for Brown Creeper, Brown Thrasher, and Common Yellowthroat. We cannot discount good fortune in these findings and we acknowledge the increased number of counters; however, most of the credit goes to the care and diligence of these counters who did a top notch job of finding and identifying birds. One measure of this attentiveness is that 10 species were seen only once during the count.


In terms of species trends over the past 25 years, we are seeing increasing numbers of Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, Black Vulture, Bald Eagle, Red-bellied and Downy Woodpecker, Common Raven, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, Song Sparrow, and Northern Cardinal. We recognize that we don’t see large numbers of some species year after year, but those small numbers are increasing. For example, now we see 3-7 Common Ravens, whereas before 2001, we did not report any. Note that the numbers are not adjusted for number of counters, which ebbs and flows.


Over the same period we saw fewer Northern Bobwhite, Sharp-shinned Hawk, American Kestrel, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow-rumped Warbler and House Finch.


Copies of the full results for the count are available here, the ASNV office, any of our sector leaders, or the compiler, Bob Shipman.


We gratefully thank all the enthusiastic birders who came out this year and counted so well!