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Christmas bird counters record average numbers

Birders counted 55 species in the annual Duluth Christmas Bird Count, held Dec. 18, according to Jim Lind of Two Harbors, who coordinates the count. That's just one below the 30-year average of 56 species. About 50 observers and several feeder-wa...

Birders counted 55 species in the annual Duluth Christmas Bird Count, held Dec. 18, according to Jim Lind of Two Harbors, who coordinates the count.

That's just one below the 30-year average of 56 species.

About 50 observers and several feeder-watchers took part, counting a total of 8,823 individual birds. Some of the highlights included:

  • A Harlequin duck on Lake Superior at the mouth of the French River.
  • Nine Thayer's gulls (a record high), four Iceland gulls (record high), two glaucous gulls, three great black-backed gulls (record high) and a near-record count of 818 herring gulls, mostly from Canal Park. An adult slaty-backed gull was seen at Canal Park the day after the count.

  • Two snowy owls in the Port Terminal.
  • A belted kingfisher at Hartley Nature Center, only the fourth record of the species for the Duluth Christmas count.
  • A horned lark at Canal Park, a first for the Christmas count and a rare winter record for Northeastern Minnesota.
  • Record low numbers of rock pigeons and house sparrows.
  • Our lowest number of winter finches in 29 years, including only six purple finches, two red crossbills, 10 common redpolls and eight pine siskins.

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