Fewer Birds Counted in Quad Cities Area
Bird watchers and nature lovers didn't find as many birds during the recent Christmas Bird Count. And wildlife biologist and consultant, Kelly McKay, probably knows why but needs more information to help identify long term trends.
McKay, Director of the Bioeco Research and Monitoring Center in Hampton, says the weather played a role in lower counts.
"It was very cold in October and November while semi-hardy species would usually migrate to the south.
But the colder weather pushed them to the south and far fewer stayed up north."
Birders who looked for ducks, geese, and swans to count were also disappointed.
After the colder weather in the autumn, McKay says December was milder than usual. And the Mississippi River was not covered with ice.
"It's troubling that the counts for over-wintering species, such as juncos and tree sparrows, was low. And numbers of winter finches were also very low."
The record-breaking Mississippi River flood is also to blame for the year-over-year declines in waterfowl.
McKay says there's no food or habitat because the floodplains, shoreline, and islands were under water for so long.