Summary: A total of 121 species from the Michigan Bird List were reported this winter. While below last winter’s all time record, this number is still above the long-term average, the fourteenth consecutive year that this has occurred. This report lists all of the species reported, along with the highest reported individual count for each, and a list of the SBA counties in which each was noted. The species order of listing has changed this period, so as to remain consistent with the MBRC Michigan Checklist, which was updated 26 Nov 2016, based upon the AOU Check -list of North American Birds (7th ed.) and its supplements. Overall, observer coverage could be rated as average, and sufficient in terms of county and species representation. Winter may be the season with prevailing bird life most routinely influenced by weather. Overall, winter 2016-2017 temperatures were much above average in Michigan (7th warmest out of 122 years). As the National Weather Service daily plots for Saginaw at the tail end of this report illustrate, December started out above average before dropping to below mid-month, then rebounded to middle / middle high. January’s temps went through several of the radical bounces to the extreme. February’s average temperature was much above normal, (it was the 2nd highest average February for the U.S. as a whole, at 41.16F, eclipsed only by February 1930, at 41.41F, (but note that 2017 was only 5 degrees above trend, whereas 1930 was 7.5 degrees above trend). While above average February temperatures didn’t noticeably influence all species, it did account for widespread early arrival of waterfowl and blackbirds to the SBA, as well as two new SBA spring early arrival dates. Seasonal snowfall totals for Saginaw were below average, but the precipitation story doesn’t end there, because there was an above average amount of rain, (indeed more days of rain than of snow).
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