2019 bird count logs some very rare visitors

  • A long way from home: a snow goose spotted in Bermuda during the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. It is believed to have travelled more than 3,000 miles (4,600 km) to Bermuda from an island off the Baffin Bay in Canada - above the Arctic Circle (Photograph by Erich Hetzel)

    A long way from home: a snow goose spotted in Bermuda during the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. It is believed to have travelled more than 3,000 miles (4,600 km) to Bermuda from an island off the Baffin Bay in Canada - above the Arctic Circle (Photograph by Erich Hetzel)

  • Rare visitor: Christmas birdwatchers spotted a northern mockingbird at St George's Golf Course (Photograph by Neal Morris)

    Rare visitor: Christmas birdwatchers spotted a northern mockingbird at St George's Golf Course (Photograph by Neal Morris)

  • A Trinidade petrel Pterodroma arminjoniana, a species related to Bermuda's own cahow, seen in Paget during the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. The bird spends its life at sea, usually landing to breed on islands off Brazil (Photograph by Erich Hetzel)

    A Trinidade petrel Pterodroma arminjoniana, a species related to Bermuda's own cahow, seen in Paget during the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. The bird spends its life at sea, usually landing to breed on islands off Brazil (Photograph by Erich Hetzel)


The results of the 2019 Christmas bird count by the Bermuda Audubon Society were revealed yesterday.

The 17-strong volunteer team spotted a string of rare visitors and counted a total of 7,919 birds. Highlights included a Townsend’s warbler on Ocean View Golf Course, Devonshire.

The society said the songbird, found in western North America, was “an extremely rare sighting for Bermuda”.

A snow goose was sighted on the sports fields off Frog Lane, Devonshire, and also spotted in the pool at the National Stadium later that week.

The bird was tagged in August 2010 on Bylot Island, Nunavut, Canada — more than 2,800 miles from Bermuda.

A northern mockingbird, said to be “a very rare visitor”, was spotted on St George’s golf course.

The species was last recorded in the 2006 Christmas bird count.

The volunteers set out at dawn on December 29 and spotted 80 species on the day as well as an extra ten over the week from Boxing Day to New Year’s Day.

The team also noticed a Trindade petrel in flight near Tee Street in Paget and it is believed to be the bird seen in the same area last winter.

The Trindade petrel, a species that is a relative of Bermuda’s cahow or Bermuda petrel, breeds on two island groups off Brazil.

Its presence in Bermuda is a mystery as the bird spends much of its life at sea and only returns to land to breed.

A possible corn crake, another rarity, was seen at Morgan’s Point in Sandys, but a second check of the area was unable to establish a definite identification.

Other unusual feathered visitors included two ruby-throated hummingbirds and an American robin.

The annual count, the 45th of its type, counted a total of 7,919 birds.

More than half were invasive species, with the European starling the most common, followed by the house sparrow and the great kiskadee.

The count logged two endangered species — the endemic cahow or Bermuda petrel, and the piping plover, a small shorebird that breeds in the eastern US and Canada.

Volunteers counted 17 species of warbler and 13 species of waterfowl.

The results will be sent to the National Audubon Society in the United States.

The results will also go online at www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count<;/i>

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Published Jan 25, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 25, 2020 at 7:59 am)

2019 bird count logs some very rare visitors

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