(The article was posted in the local Iosco County News-Herald and is presented here by permission of Peggy Ridgway)
Bird counters in Iosco County chalked up an impressive number of species during the 20th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) held Feb. 17-20. A total of 63 species were tallied. That number ranked Iosco among the top ten counties with the highest number of species recorded during the four day event . First in the state was Washtenaw county totaling 83 species, followed by Macomb & Ottawa with 77, Jackson 73, Berrien 71, Kalamazoo and Monroe with 67, Oakland with 66, Branch with 65, Muskegon with 64, and Iosco, Bay, and Calhoun all with 63.
According to Peggy Ridgway, local ambassador for the event, “ half of the top ten species observed in our area were waterfowl. The vast amount of open water along the river corridor and the lakeshore made for these unusually high numbers. “ Northern cardinals and several species of woodpeckers were lower in count numbers than in past years.
Ranked among the Iosco top ten species observed were redhead ducks (222), European starling (212), long- tailed duck (160), snow bunting (100), Canada goose (85), cedar waxwing (83), horned lark (62), American goldfinch (55), mallard (54) , and herring gull (40).
“It’s quite rare that we would see that many geese and gulls, as they usually depart this region during the winter,” added Ridgway.
Downstate many of the spring migrants were already making their way north which accounted for the unusually high totals in some southern counties.
“The state as a whole ended up with 140 species, which is quite impressive at this time of year,” commented Ridgway.
Throughout the United Sates, Michigan ranked among the top ten states recording the most species.
Worldwide there were 5,937 species observed and a total of 2, 836, 488 individuals recorded.