Warm Winter Leads to "Strange" Christmas Bird Count
The unusually warm winter has kept most species of birds up north, but that wasn't true for every area near the Quad Cities. Wildlife biologist Kelly McKay calls this year's Christmas Bird Count one of the "strangest" in the 116-year-long tradition.
McKay says this was one of the "worst years" for water fowl, with the numbers of bald eagles, geese, and ducks especially low. But that was off-set by a "huge" number of the birds in Clinton.
And, he says the count for "semi-hardy species" was also odd. Birds like robins and sparrows typically stick around the Quad Cities during mild winters, but were hard to find this year.
McKay says the annual Christmas Bird Count is the longest running wildlife survey in the world. Each year for 23 days, thousands of people count birds across North America and submit their results to the National Audubon Society.