The Fayette Soil & Water Conservation District hosted its 11th-annual bird count as part of the 123rd year of the Audubon Christmas bird count on Wednesday, Dec. 14.
Data comes from over 2,000 circles. The count runs from Dec. 14 to Jan. 5. A 15-mile circle is identified and locations within the area are included. The circle can then be counted every year to compare the results.
This year, included in the count were sites in the City of Washington Court House, local farms, and Deer Creek State Park and wildlife areas. Deer Creek Corps of Engineers provided a space for lunch after the count.
This year, seven people participated and 40 species of birds were counted. Historically, there has been a high of 57 species in 2015 and a low of 33 species in 2016. Highlights of the count include 55 black vultures in one location and 23 Coots at Deer Creek. Also, two barn owls were included in the count. They are residence owls in one of the wooden barns in Fayette County.
Because of citizen science and counts, there are an estimated 2.9 billion breeding adult birds that have been lost since 1970. Ninety percent came from 12 bird families that include sparrows, warblers, finches and swallows. Habitat loss, including forest and grasslands, has contributed to the numbers.
A few steps that you can take include making windows safer, keep cats indoors, reduce lawn size and plant native species. To learn more, visit 3billionbirds.org.
If you would like to participate next year please contact Brigitte Hisey at 740-636-0279 or e-mail at [email protected]