192,171 total bird sightings
Special to The Monitor
SEAGOVILLE–The first program of the year at the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center was the fourth annual Christmas Bird Count in partnership with the Trinity River Audubon Center.
Four sections within a 15 mile diameter needed to be counted and the wetlands was one of the most diverse sections in the entire count circle, spotting 257 different bird species.
Beginning at 5:30 a.m. on a chilly Saturday morning Jan. 4, 14 participants dispersed in all directions to find as many birds as possible.
The highlight of the day was the lift-off of 9,086 Snow Geese in flight.
Other highlights included sighting 959 Green-winged Teal ducks, 10 Virginia Rails and nine Soras – two birds that are extremely elusive.
After an entire day in the field, everyone gathered back at the center for dinner to compile all the bird lists for a total number of birds sighted for the day.
The grand total number of birds sighted was 192,171.
Of that total, 180,958 of those birds were sighted at the wetland. We are proud to help in the conservation of many bird species and will continue to be part of the Christmas Bird Count, letting everyone know of the wonderful bird species that can be found in North Central Texas.
Following the bird count was the Purple Martin Expo Jan. 15.
The Purple Martin Landlords of North Texas gave a fantastic presentation regarding all things Purple Martin. Because Purple Martins are totally dependent on man-made housing, the participants of the expo learned the necessary skills to attract Martins to their houses and how to manage the house colony to increase the success rate of young birds that live to adulthood.
It was recommended everyone purchase the Purple Martin “dawn song” as the best way to attract Martins to their houses. The dawn song is a unique set of sounds performed by adult male Martins during the predawn hours of spring, possibly to attract other Martins to the colonial nest site.
Having a Purple Martin house is like having a rental property. The houses need to be checked weekly during nesting season to make sure the correct “renters” are living there and that the house has not been destroyed by an unwanted “renters.”
The unwelcome guests eluded to are the European House Sparrow and Starling. Time and effort are necessary in maintaining a successful Martin colony; however, the rewards are great when the Martins return year after year to a well-kept house!
For more information on Purple Martins, go to www.purplemartinlandlordsoftexas.com.