2017 Eugene Christmas Bird Count

The 76th Eugene Christmas Bird Count (ECBC) on Sunday, December 31, 2017, started on a cold and foggy morning. We had all hoped it would be sunny like the day before, but the fog persisted all day long. Luckily, the 149 field participants also persisted, and we saw 130 species of birds, a total of 71,084 individuals. Another seven species were seen during Count Week.

The details of those sightings are reported by Vjera Thompson, see Resources/Christmas Bird Counts on this website. Vjera was Species Compiler for the first time this year, replacing Dan Gleason, who has been involved with the ECBC for more than four decades. We appreciate his hard work throughout that time.

The 149 field participant total was high, approaching our previous record of 157, set in 2012. The 130 species seen was about the average of what we’ve been seeing over the past 15 years, but high compared to the first 60 years of the ECBC. Despite the cold, foggy conditions, the teams walked 118 miles in 172 hours and drove 571 miles in 69 hours. Six teams even went owling in the dark for 6.5 hours and covered 22 miles.

Another 76 people contributed as Home Counters, and their results are folded into the day’s totals. If you’d like to participate, but don’t want to go out in the field all day, we encourage you to join the Home Counters next year. It is fairly easy to observe all the birds in your yard for a few hours on Count Day, and then report your findings to us.

At the end of the day, nearly 100 tired, cold, muddy but happy birders gathered for the LCAS-sponsored Chili Feed to share stories and participate in the traditional Countdown. Allison Mickel prepared over 10 gallons of homemade vegetarian chili, which was served along with dinner rolls, chips and salad. Participants also brought desserts to share. Sandy Poinsett and Kathy Wilson organized the serving areas and set up tables and chairs. At the end, Bruce Wilson and his clean-up crew of Charlie Thomas, Nancy Radius, Scott Spearman, Kyle Wilson, and David Novak had the room looking spotless in record time. As always, the Chili Feed was an enjoyable ending to a great day of birding.

One notable part of this year’s ECBC was having 5-year-old Summer Kofranek join Team 8 with her father and mother, while 95-year-old Herb Wisner participated as a Home Counter. So, we had a 90-year age span in our participating birders! This proves that no matter how old you are, you can enjoy the beauty of birds while adding valuable information to the knowledge of their behavior.

A special thank you goes to Herb Wisner for organizing the Home Counters, Vjera Thompson for compiling the results, and the 27 Team Leaders whose names appear below. Without the Team Leaders’ hard work of assembling teams, guiding them all day, and reporting the results, the ECBC would not be the great and meaningful event that it is.

The results of this year’s ECBC will be entered into the 118-year record of all the Christmas Bird Counts around the continent. Scientists and researchers will use these tallies to gather information about birdlife, just as previous results have been used for more than a century. The results of all the CBCs (over 2,500 last year) can be found on the National Audubon Society’s website at christmasbirdcount.org. The code for the ECBC is OREU.

Thanks again to all of you who participated and helped to make the 2017 ECBC one of the biggest and best in the country!

Team Leaders by Area

1:    Ron Renchler

2:    Jim Regali

3A:  Dan Heyerly

3B:  Darryl Wisner

4:    Rick Ahrens

5A:  Donna Albino

5B:  Diane Horgan

6:    Kit Larsen

7:    Roger Robb

8:    Dave Kofranek

9:    Tom Mickel

10:   Vjera Thompson

11A: David Novak

11B: Dick Lamster

12A: Steve Gordon

12B:Thomas Meinzen

13A:Charlie Thomas

13B:Holly Hartmann

14:  Dave Bontrager

15: Jim Maloney

16:  Linda Gilbert

17:  John Sullivan

18:  Caryn Stoess

19:  Barbara Combs

20A:Alan Contreras

20B:Bruce Newhouse

21: Rebecca Waterman