Summary: 115 species from the Michigan Bird List were reported in the Saginaw Bay Area this season. This figure is well above the 26 year average of 107, and represents the twelfth consecutive winter of an above average total. This report lists all of the species reported, plus one hybrid, along with the highest reported individual count for each, and a list of the SBA counties in which each was noted. Per the state compiler’s request, all Trumpeter Swan records are listed.
The temperature this winter started out low to average, then it moved into the above average for much of December, the pitched backed down at the end of the month. And down is where it stayed, as the first two months of 2105 in Saginaw saw above freezing temperatures on just two days, both in January. February highs and lows were persistently below average.
Overall, Christmas Bird Counts in the SBA were well attended, and resulted in several records that likely would have otherwise gone unreported. There were two new fall late dates set, and an equal number of new peak counts. For the second straight winter gulls were more or less absent from the Saginaw River. Also in the more or less absent category were Eastern Bluebirds. Similar to last winter, Snowy Owls were once again widespread and even abundant in select locations. So, too, were Rough-legged Hawks. There was no lack of hanging fruit going into the winter, and in the end, supply exceeded the demand.
Presumably due to the below average temperatures, there was no widespread atypical overwintering on a species wide basis, but one or two hardy individuals from numerous species did remain through the entire period. While glaringly low in peak numbers this winter, Bald Eagles are now routinely widespread throughout the SBA in the season, presumably due to sufficient supply of white-tailed deer carcasses.
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