Geese, swans top local bird count

WARREN — Various species of swans and geese were among the top birds counted during the annual Trumbull County Christmas Bird Count conducted last month.

Howland resident Carole Babyak, one of the coordinators of the event, said local residents on Dec. 15 recorded birds they saw, mostly in the area of Mosquito Lake. Despite low temperatures that froze ponds, the water at the lake still was unfrozen.

She said while tundra swans nest further north, 668 were counted in several flocks, migrating to their winter home around Chesapeake Bay. There were 11 trumpeter swans and 1,314 Canada geese, which was the highest number of any species that day, even though the count of the species was lower than in past years.

“A very uncommon migrant at Mosquito Lake was seen this year, a red-necked grebe sporting winter plumage was at the dam,” she said, noting the rarity. The bird is a migratory aquatic bird found in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere.

About 700 starlings were recorded, along with 650 ring-billed gulls, 24 crows, 19 sandhill cranes, 22 eastern bluebirds and two great blue herons.

“Small birds such as chickadees, American tree sparrows and crows were counted in low numbers. Only 24 crows were tallied,” Babyak said.

The Christmas Bird Count started in 1900 along the East Coast and is now conducted in all of North America.

The 2020 bird count is set for Dec. 14. Past counts can be reviewed online at the National Audubon website, www.audubon.org.