32nd Denver Urban Xmas Bird Count

32nd Annual Denver Urban Christmas Bird Count

Denver Urban Christmas Bird Counters at Botanic Gardens

166 People Count Over 46,000 Individual Birds

On New Years Day, 166 intrepid birders flocked into 18 field parties and spent all day counting every bird they could see or hear as part of the 32nd annual Denver Urban Christmas Bird Count. Adding their results together, the groups counted 46,597 individual birds, which represents 117% of the 32-year average. Unsurprisingly, the most prevalent species were Canada and Cackling Geese, comprising 64% of the birds counted. The total number of species observed was 86, with some saying the Long-eared Owl, spotted at Rocky Mountain Arsenal, was the coolest.

Long-eared Owl (Photo credit: Heather Roskelley / Audubon Photography Awards)

Hugh Kingery’s Snippets

Hugh Kingery, one of Denver Audubon’s founding members and the Christmas Bird Count Data Compiler, had a few observations he shared: 

  • This year saw a record high of several species including, 381 Black-capped Chickadees (twice the average), 255 Hooded Mergansers, 195 Bushtits (previous high 106), 185 Buffleheads, 77 Blue Jays, 56 Double-crested Cormorants, and 19 Spotted Towhees. 
  • Only in the last 5 years have more than 100 Red-tailed Hawks been counted. This year’s group counted 113 compared to the 32-year average of 64. 
  • The number of all passerines was at an all-time low at 6,095, which is 73% of average. Excluding crows and starlings, the number of passerines drops to 1,375, which is the lowest ever at only 35% of the 32-year average. 
  • Other low counts include 40 American Tree Sparrows (18% of average), 49 Pintails (29% of average), 51 Common Mergansers (10% of average), 124 House Sparrows (9% of average), 173 Dark-eyed Juncos (44% of average), 546 House Finches (46% of average). Many of these represent the lowest or 2nd lowest count. 

Detailed Count Results