Bluejay

A group of birdwatchers identified 35 different species of birds at Crex Meadows Wildlife Area and a total of 1360 different birds were spotted even in the cold of December in Wisconsin.

Friends of Crex Meadows along with the National Audubon Society held their annual Christmas count in December at Crex Meadows just 25 minutes away from Pine City.

Seven teams of birders went through Crex Meadows in cars and on foot. The goal of the count is to gather data of the health of bird population during the winter months.

Of the 35 species the most populace is the blue jay with 200 being spotted with every team seeing at least 10. They also spotted two species of hawk, red tailed and rough legged.

There were 28 bald eagles spotted during the count with all but one being an adult. Groups also spotted 55 wild turkey across Crex Meadows.

Lauren Finch, natural resources educator at Crex, noted there were a few birds that did not show up in the preliminary count that are usually in the area this time of year. She said those birdsinclude Common Redpoll, Golden Eagle and some different Crossbills.

Dennis Allaman told the Sentinel that Grantsburg has been involved in this Christmas Bird Count every year since the 1970s and there is some information from the 1960s.

He cited the Audubon Society when asked about the importance of the annual count.

“The data collected by observers over the past century allow Audubon researchers, conservation biologists, wildlife agencies and other interested individuals to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America. When combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, it provides a picture of how the continent’s bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years.

“The long term perspective is vital for conservationists. It informs strategies to protect birds and their habitat and helps identify environmental issues with implications for people as well.”

Allaman added that the count took place over a 15 mile radius in Grantsburg with the intersection of State Highway 70 and State Highway 87.

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