Bucks County volunteers join in nationwide bird census – KYW

WASHINGTON CROSSING, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — The National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count is taking place throughout the country, including here in the Philadelphia region. Volunteer bird watchers conduct the bird census every year.
“If you take a look right now, you can see a yellow-bellied sapsucker,” Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources environmental education specialist Matthew Truesdale said Wednesday while leading a team of volunteers at Washington Crossing Historic Park in Bucks County.
Looking through binoculars and spotting scopes, they found that medium-sized woodpecker and dozens of other kinds of birds.
“It looks like we have up to 40 different species today,” he said.
The bird count is going on nationwide, in association with Cornell University. About a dozen bird-counting efforts have been planned for the Philadelphia area.
“They can take those numbers and look at how that compares to 10 years ago, 20 years ago,” Truesdale said, seeing a pattern of fewer birds over the decades.
“There definitely has been a trend of mortality for birds in general. In almost every species, there has been a trend of mortality.“
Truesdale says there are several reasons, including urban sprawl and the use of pesticides and herbicides.
“It’s really good to go in a group, because the more experienced birders tell us to go up to that coordinate, this area, and we know to lift our binoculars to our eyes and look for the bird,” said Maureen Pontecorvo from Lawrence, New Jersey.
“Matt was telling us about baby owls … before they learn how to fly,” said Marcia from Bucks County, who helped with the count. “If they fall out of the nest, they are able to climb back up the tree by using their talons and beak and get back into their nest.”
Spotters also found a lot of what Truesdale said are common birds in this area during December.
“A lot of eastern bluebirds, robins, black cap chickadees, brown creepers,” he said. “We had a really nice red-tailed hawk that sat in a tree for over an hour perfectly for us, so we got some good pictures in.”
The Christmas Bird Count continues through Jan. 5.