We always like to keep tabs on the birds in our region, since we have so many living right here imagesalong the Deschutes River in the Old Mill District. In fact, if you didn’t know, we have a complete birding list and binocular checkout at the Ticket Mill for visitors to explore wildlife while visiting us. We started this program by teaming up with the East Cascades Audubon Society, a group that is active in the birding community here in Bend. In the winter, they don’t stop bird watching, they take winter bird counts! We recently received this information from them about birds currently residing in our area:

“The 46th Bend Christmas Bird Count was held on Saturday (12/14) under “balmy” conditions – at least compared to the -27 of the preceding weekend.  With highs in the mid-40s and a bit of open water on the Deschutes and at Hatfield Lake, the results were a mixed bag.  With the exception of the previous weekend Central Oregon has experienced a prolonged period of unseasonably warm temperatures.  However that is a mighty big “except.”  The record breaking cold weather either killed or drove out a lot of birds.  The count total of 83 is the second lowest this century, topped only by the 74 recorded in 2009.  Highlights were a Swamp Sparrow, Snow Goose,  Red-naped Sapsucker and a Hermit Thrush.  Notable misses were Pine Siskin, Northern Goshawk and Western Meadowlark.   Also missing in action was a Ross’s Goose which was found in the area during count week.  Overall it was a contrast between highs and lows with no real rarities around.

Species with high numbers were:

  • Green-winged Teal – 42 (second highest)
  • Ring-necked Duck – 234 (highest ever)
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 88 (highest ever)
  • Eurasian Collared Dove – 335 (highest ever)
  • Western Scrub Jay – 200 (second highest)
  • Common Raven – 521 (second highest)
  • Pacific Wren – 8 (highest since 1987)
  • Dark-eyed Junco – 1048 (highest ever)
  • Lesser Goldfinch – 74 (highest ever)

Species with low numbers were:

  • Trumpeter Swan – 2 (lowest number since they were introduced in 1998)
  • Wood Duck – 3 (lowest since 1985)
  • California Quail – 141 (second lowest since 2000)
  • Pied-billed Grebe – 1 (tied for second lowest since 1992)
  • American Kestrel – 12 (tied for lowest since 2000)
  • Coot – 27 (lowest since 1996)
  • Belted Kingfisher – 4 (second lowest since 1985)
  • Mountain Chickadee – 80 (second lowest since 1985)
  • Bushtit – 10 (lowest since 1991)
  • Varied Thrush – 2 (tied for lowest since 1978)
  • American Goldfinch – 10 (second lowest since 2000)”

There you have it! We encourage you to keep your eye out for birds while you are out enjoying the winter season in Central Oregon.