Bird Count in Joshua Tree National Park reveals rare species … – Z107.7 FM Joshua Tree


We have a huge variety of different bird species here in the hi desert – native species that are unique to our area as well as migrating birds that are just passing through. Bird-brain Robert Haydon joins us with the results of an annual effort to count and keep track of our desert’s feathered friends.
Early in January Joshua Tree National Park held their annual Christmas Bird Count – which is a community supported scientific study used by organizations like the park and the Audubon Society to count and keep track of migrating and native birds.
This was the 123rd annual bird count – and this year in the park there were 69 different species of birds observed and counted – breaking the old record of 66.
A few new and notable species were observed in the park for the first time – the American Crow was spotted – a bird common in cities and other urban areas, but not seen as much here as the larger Ravens that dot our desert skies. The starkly patterned Rose-breasted grosbeak – which is a diminutive songbird with a black crown and wings, white body and bright red marking on its chest, was also spotted for the first time in the National park.
There were record high counts for 5 species this year – the Great Horned Owl, House Wren and Western Meadowlark all showed up in bigger numbers than last year – and overall 2,128 birds were counted.
If you missed this year’s bird count – don’t get your wings in a flap because the park will also be participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count coming up on President’s Day weekend in February. 
Results of the Christmas Bird Count:
New Count Species:
American Crow- 2 (in Area 2)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak – 1 (in Area 7)
Rare Species (seen only once before)
Gray Flycatcher – 1 (seen in Area 3)
High species totals on this year’s count, such as:
Great Horned Owl – 3 (old record 2- multiple times)
Say’s Phoebe – 21 (old record 20, set in 2018)
House Wren- 3 (old record 1- multiple times)
Western Meadowlark – 49 (old record 38 in 2001)
Slate-colored Junco (form) – 10 (old record 3 – multiple times)
Low totals
Gambel’s Quail – 31 (lowest since 2016; record low is 14)
Eurasian Collared-Dove – 9 (lowest total since 1st recorded in 2005)
Cactus Wren – 9 (lowest since 2003)
House Sparrow – 3 (numbers should be higher in residential areas)
Birds We Missed
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Prairie Falcon
Killdeer
White-throated Swift
Sapsuckers (red-naped or red-breasted)
Nuthatches (any)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Great-tailed Grackle
Species found by only one party:
Party 1 – Western Bluebird
Party 2 – Pinyon Jay, American Crow, Lark Sparrow
Party 3 – Gray Flycatcher, House Wren, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Bell’s Sparrow, Pink-sided Junco (form)
Party 4 – Mallard, Acorn Woodpecker, Bushtit
Party 5 – none
Parry 6 – California Towhee, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird
Party 7 – Townsend’s Solitaire, White-winged Dove, Greater Roadrunner, House Sparrow (!), Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Party 8 – none
Party 9 – Brewer’s Blackbird
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