2019 Eugene Christmas Bird Count

by Dick Lamster, Count Coordinator

For the second time in a row, the Eugene Christmas Bird Count (ECBC) had good weather! The 27 teams of observers looked for birds for the 78th ECBC on Sunday, December 29, 2019, with no ice, no snow, and no wind. The sun even came out for a short time, and just to remind us it was December in Oregon, it did rain for a little while in the mid-afternoon.

The 162 Field Observers along with the 81 Home Counters identified 123 species of birds (plus 8 more during Count Week) and 357,948 individual birds. The number of species is a little below average for the past few years, but the huge number of individual birds is extremely high. Species Compiler Vjera Thompson’s explanation for this unusually high number can be found in her report following this article. Our record for species is 140 (plus 2 during Count Week) in 2005, and our previous record of 129,874 individual birds was set in 2000.

Having 162 Field Observers also set a new record, erasing our old record of 157 set in 2012. The number of Home Counters was about average for the past few years. Herb Wisner continues to manage the Home Counters at age 97 ½! His son and daughter, Darryl and Linda, along with Maeve Sowles, assisted Herb this year. Last year we had the 12th largest Christmas Bird Count (CBC) in number of participants out of the 2,615 Christmas Bird Counts in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. This year there were 40 CBCs in Oregon. A complete listing of all the CBCs and previous year’s results can be found on the National Audubon Society’s website at christmasbirdcount.org. The code for the ECBC is OREU. 

The Field Observers walked 154 miles in 191 hours and drove 590 miles in 75 hours. We also had two observers who looked for birds from their bicycles for 5 hours and rode for 7 miles. Seven teams went owling in the dark for 13 hours and covered 35 miles. The 81 Home Counters watched birds for approximately 234 hours.

At the end of the day, 130 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 more than 12 gallons of homemade vegetarian chili for the group, which was served along with dinner rolls, chips, and salad. Everyone attending brought a dessert to share. This year, Rebecca Waterman and the Cornbread Café provided fresh cornbread for everyone. A special thank you goes to them. Sandy Poinsett and Kathy Wilson set up the tables and chairs, arranged the serving tables, organized the rooms, and served chili to everyone. Bruce Wilson and his Clean-up Crew of Charlie Thomas, Kyle Wilson, Nancy Radius, and Rob Mertz had the room looking spotless in record time. The Chili Feed is always a wonderful and fun ending to a great day of birding. 

A big 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 their teams, guiding them all day, and then reporting the results, the ECBC would not be the great event it continues to be. And thanks again to all of you who participated and helped to make the 2019 ECBC one of the biggest and best in the country!

Be sure to mark January 3, 2021, on your calendar for the 2020 ECBC. 

Team Leaders by Area

1:   Ron Renchler

2:   Jim Carlson

3A: Dan Heyerly

3B: Darryl Wisner

4: Rick Ahrens

5A:Donna Albino

5B:Marcia Maffei

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:Rebecca Waterman

13B:Holly Hartmann

14:Dave Bontrager

15:Jim Maloney

16:Linda Gilbert

17:John Sullivan

18Caryn Stoess

19:Barbara Combs

20A:Brandon Green

20B:Bruce Newhouse

21: Ellen Cantor