Fourteen people, aged 15 and older, ventured outdoors on Jan. 18 for the 17th annual Bake Oven Knob Area Winter Bird Survey.
Eleven traveled by car on three teams and three stayed on the Lehigh Gap Wildlife Refuge and surveyed on foot.
The four teams combined to find a cumulative total of 2,404 birds of 55 different species. The total number of birds is derived by taking the highest count for each species for all teams as the count for that species, then adding those numbers. The Hoopes team recorded the most species with 42 seen for the morning.
Three new species were added to the list of species seen in the 17 years of the count. They were Ring-necked Duck and Northern Goshawk, both spotted by the Kline team, and Eastern Towhee, recorded by the Husic team.
There is now a total of 88 species seen during this survey since it began in 1997.
The McNaughton team, traveling the Wildlife Refuge on foot spotted the largest number of Canada Geese and Dark-eyed Juncos and saw the only Golden-crowned Kinglet.
New high counts for the survey included 3 Redhead (ducks), 11 Common Mergansers, 3 Black Vultures, 4 American Kestrels, 60 Ring-billed Gulls, 3 Herring Gulls, 346 Rock Pigeons, and 18 Song Sparrows. The five most numerous birds for the count were European Starling (507), Rock Pigeon (346), Canada Goose (265), Mallard (179), and Dark-eyed Junco (161).
The survey is conducted every January along the Kittatinny Ridge from Route 248 to Route 309. This is a citizen-science project of the Lehigh Gap Nature Center monitoring the trends in winter bird sightings in our region of Northern Lehigh and Southern Carbon counties in eastern Pennsylvania.
The four teams consisted of the following participants:
ŸBob Hoopes, Jeff Hopkins, Wyatt Trantham and Nate Cunfer.
Ÿ Ron Kline, Devin Kline and Grant Stevenson;
Ÿ Dave McNaughton, Jarrod Derr, and Ed Newcomb.
Ÿ Corey Husic, Dave Husic, Dan Kunkle and Bud Cole.