BIRD COUNT – Sam Burckhardt shot this photo of a wild turkey in Wilber Township.  The species were just two of a several that were recorded during the annual event in Iosco and Alcona counties. 

OSCODA – Nearly 40 observers in the Alcona and Iosco counties revealed good insight and some surprises as to the variety of birds located in this area during the annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) held Feb. 12-15. 

Alcona participants totaled 38 species, while Iosco tallied 46. Nationally, 655 species were counted.

Adverse weather conditions in many parts of the U.S. had a negative impact on many bird sightings. Locally, a fairly sudden freeze up along river corridors a few days prior to the count forced waterfowl to congregate where open water existed. 

Moreover, access to some of these areas by observers was limited due to additional snow accumulations. However, in some cases where large numbers of the waterfowl gathered, tallying was easier. 

An influx of common redpolls from the far northern regions of the U.S. and Canada, afforded a unique filming opportunity for the avid birder/photographer. On the other hand, a general absence of snow buntings was disappointing to many observers, as only nine were seen.

The top 10 species observed in Alcona County included; American crow (60), blue jay (50), American goldfinch (40), wild turkey (35), trumpeter swan (34), cedar waxwing (21), European starling (19J), house finch (16), common redpoll (14), and snow bunting (9). 

In Iosco the total numbers included: trumpeter swan (158), cedar waxwing (120), rock pigeon (89), wild turkey (89), common goldeneye (88), blue jay (47), European starling (45), American goldfinch (44), dark-eyed junco (21), and American crow (16). 

“With all those ‘eagle eyes’ watching the feeders, fields, forests and waterways, our county observers made a significant contribution to this national and  world wide count,” added Peggy Ridgway,  local ambassador for the event. “The spring migrants are ready to begin their long journeys! They’ll be arriving in another month or so.”

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