Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 59

the Engstroms identified on foot.
But other JVAS counters scored at
Canoe Creek State Park, where they
counted 10 common goldeneyes, 11
lesser scaup, one green-winged teal, four
mallards and a great blue heron. In addition, they found six long-tailed ducks, the
highest number of this species in the 78
statewide CBCs, as well as the only bluewinged teal in the state count.
In the open water of other areas of our
15-mile count circle, which is centered
in Culp, in Sinking Valley, our counters
added more mallards in addition to 393
Canada geese, one gadwall, two black
ducks, 10 hybrid mallards, one northern
pintail and two buffleheads. They also
counted 21 ring-necked pheasants in the
valley - another species-high number for
CBC groups - and 90 wild turkeys.
The group's raptor numbers were low:
three Cooper's hawks, one sharp-shinned
hawk, eight redtails, nine kestrels and
three bald eagles. Their bonus songbird
was 156 horned larks.
Altogether, JVAS birders counted 62
species. As Laura Jackson wrote in "The
Gnatcatcher," the JVAS newsletter, it was
a "dapper day of ducks," but "the songbirds were hunkered down in the brush or
hiding under evergreen branches trying
to stay dry. Quick forays to birdfeeders
were infrequent; very few birds braved the
pelting rain from gray and gloomy skies."
Later, in July, while reading Nick
Bolgiano's comprehensive article "The
2018-19 Christmas Bird Count in Pennsylvania" in Pennsylvania Birds, the
magazine of the Pennsylvania Society of
Ornithology, Bolgiano mentioned several
trends that I had noted on our mountain.
For the first time in our 40 years of counting, we had found no ruffed grouse. They,
DECEMBER 2019

along with great horned owls, crows,
Carolina and black-capped chickadees
and tufted titmice, were suspected to have
sustained losses from West Nile virus.
Other declines, such as 40-percentlower numbers of dark-eyed juncos, were
probably due to the cold and early snow
in November, which sent juncos farther
south.
Gradually declining tree sparrows
posted their lowest count total since
1937. On the other hand, white-throated
sparrows were the most numerous sparrow species in the state. And there were
record-breaking numbers of swamp
sparrows.
Many other species - mallards, black
ducks, Wilson's snipes, mockingbirds
and meadowlarks - continued to decline.
Additionally, no American woodcocks -
another declining species - were counted.
However, I never would have imagined
Pennsylvania having December trumpeter
swans and sandhill cranes, but both species appeared on CBC counts.
Such discoveries and more were made
by the citizen scientists who went afield
and counted birds on a day chosen by their
group from Dec. 14, 2018 to Jan. 5, 2019.
The Lititz count had the most species
(102), and it was the first time the group
had recorded the highest species' number
since 1924 when the group had a species
count of 31! They were closely followed
by Southern Bucks County (100) and
Harrisburg (95), but statewide birders
found 160 species.
Since I have been a part of this effort
for so many years, I plan to be out this
year no matter what the weather might
be, knowing that the trends in bird populations that Bolgiano has reported are
only possible if large numbers of birders
continue to participate in this oldest of
citizen-science endeavors.
59



Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - Intro
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 8
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Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 12
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Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 16
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Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 22
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Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2019 - Cover4
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