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The Daily Plant : Wednesday, December 17, 2008

109th Christmas Bird Count Reveals 6,041 Birds Of 55 Different Species In Central Park

There are 55 species of birds and 6,041 individual birds in Central Park, according to the final tally of the 109th Christmas Bird Count held in Central Park on Sunday, December 14. Teams of citizen birdwatchers, guided by Urban Park Rangers, spent the morning canvassing all 843 acres of Central Park identifying and counting each and every bird in a game of ornithological “I Spy.” Following the bird count, participants gathered at the historic Arsenal building in Central Park to share, analyze, and tally their findings. The results of this bird count will be added to the results of other Audubon Society Christmas Bird Counts which are being held across the nation from December 14, 2008 to January 5, 2009. The aggregate tallies will help paint a picture of how the continent’s bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years.

“This year’s Christmas Bird Count reveals that Central Park is home sweet home to 6,041 birds, among the highest number of birds counted in the last five years,” said Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Beginning and advanced avian aficionados alike did a fantastic job surveying the park and identifying an array of birds throughout the park’s winter wonderland, from resident White-throated Sparrows and Blue Jays to the rare Pine Sisken and even a Wild Turkey. There were two (Mute) Swans a-swimming, but no partridge in a pear tree. Special thanks to the New York City Audubon Society and Central Park Conservancy for co-hosting this 109th annual holiday tradition that allows New Yorkers to become citizen scientists in their local park.”

The results of this year’s tally indicate that Central Park is presently home to several birds that are either uncommon or rare for this time of year, including two Red-headed Woodpeckers. The largest flocks spotted were of the House Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Ring-billed Gull, Mallard, and Rock Pigeon. Large numbers of Northern Shoveler, Ruddy Duck, and Canadian Goose were also spotted.

The first bird counts in America took place on Christmas Day 1900 and were intended to promote bird counting as an alternative to bird hunting. This year’s Christmas Bird Count in Central Park was led by the New York City Audubon Society and jointly organized with NYC Parks & Recreation’s Urban Park Rangers, and the Central Park Conservancy.


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