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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. 

Credit Michelle O'Neill / WVIK News
Ornithologist, Kelly McKay, Director of the Bioeco Research & Monitoring Center

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. 

Credit http://netapp.audubon.org/CBCObservation/CurrentYear/ResultsByCount.aspx / Christmas Bird Count/Audubon
Christmas Bird Count/Audubon
Screenshot of part of the count in Clinton, Iowa

Officially, Michelle's title for 28 years was WVIK News Editor. She did everything there is to do in the newsroom and whatever was needed around the radio station. She also served as Acting News Director from September 2023 - January 2024.
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