Disco the trumpeter swan

This trumpeter swan was found at Treasure Lake during last year’s DuBois Audubon Christmas Bird Count. This was the first time a trumpeter swan was found in the DuBois area. These birds are very rare anywhere in the state during the two weeks when Christmas bird counts occur. The wan was tagged P42 and named Disco.

DuBOIS — The DuBois Audubon Christmas Bird Count will be held during the 24-hour period on Saturday, Dec. 14, from midnight to midnight. There is also optional birding at night since owls need to be found too.

New counters are always welcome, whether at a bird feeder or in the field. Please call (814) 583-7926 ASAP if interested in participating. Whether an experienced or beginning bird watcher, participants may be able to join others in the field that include at least one experienced birder.

Maps and recording forms are available. Co-compilers are Marianne Atkinson and Jocelynn Smrekar, who will assign birding areas in the field.

The 15-mile diameter count circle has DuBois as its center. The circle goes northwest to Beechwoods, north almost to Brockway, east to the DuBois Reservoir, southeast to Luthersburg, southwest to Troutville and west almost to Reynoldsville.

The circle includes West Liberty, Clear Run, the City of Dubois, Treasure Lake (folks are needed there too), Kyle Lake, Lake Sabula, Game Lands #77 and Harvey Run.

2018 bird count resultsThe DuBois Christmas Bird count that took place Dec. 15, 2018, was the 30th count for DuBois. The first DuBois count was in 1987. The count has taken place every year except for 1998 and 2004, as a result of no one being available to coordinate it.

The weather last year’s count was great for birders, with a high of 43 degrees and a low of 34 degrees. There was no snow or ice on the ground. The rain held off until around 3 p.m. and was light. But, the fairly mild weather curtailed bird activity, making it a challenge to find birds. Participants ventured into the field or counted at their feeders.

All lakes and ponds were frozen over except for a small area in the middle of Bimini Lake at Treasure Lake. Streams were open.

Fifty-four bird species were found on count day and an additional six species were added during count week, which consists of three days before and three days after the count day. Several birders went owling last year, but only came up with one screech owl on count day and one great-horned owl during count week.

This was the third DuBois count in a row where turkey vultures were seen on count day. They had not been found during any DuBois count before 2016. Turkey vultures are more common in the southern part of the state during the winter.

The DuBois count had a first-time species: a trumpeter swan, which was tagged P42 and named Disco. These birds are very rare anywhere in Pennyslvania during the two-week time frame when Christmas bird counts can take place. They are not even reported every year in Pennsylvania.

Some of the other waterfowl added to count day and count week totals were: Tundra swan, wood duck, gadwall, long-tailed duck, bufflehead, common goldeneye, hooded merganser, ruddy duck and horned grebe. Other good species found were great blue heron, bald eagle, ring-billed gull, American kestrel, horned lark, brown creeper, Northern mockingbird, snow bunting, field sparrow, fox sparrow, swamp sparrow and pine siskin. Only one American robin was tallied.

House finch numbers were way down. The 2018 count produced 51 house finches. The highest number of house finches since the DuBois count began was 452 in 1996.

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