Put-in-Bay Birding The Annual Christmas Bird Count

Bass Islands Christmas Bird Count – The Lake Erie Islands Count Circle of the Christmas Bird Count was held on December 15th, 2019. It was a relatively warm day with open water around the islands this year, which made for a very different count. Duck hunters were present offshore on both South Bass and Middle Bass, which affected the count.

Not as many birds were present at island feeders with the warmer weather this year. Here on Put-in-Bay South Bass Island, we counted 6,388 birds from dawn to dusk, hearing eastern screech owls before dawn. The most numerous birds were waterfowl with 2,179 red-breasted mergansers that were flying east across South Bass as the sun came up and continued to move as the day went on. Large rafts of scaup were seen offshore. Paul Ladd had tundra swans fly over his home.

Put-in-Bay Birding The Most Interesting Bird Of The Day

The most exciting bird of the day was the eastern phoebe that we found in Bob Russell’s yard at the easternmost point. Susan Harrington got some photos. This bird survives on insects which are in scarce supply this time of year. Susan Harrington, Lisa Brohl, Karen Wilhelm, and Elizabeth Heineman drove and walked around the island to count waterfowl and land birds. Russ Brohl, Kit Knaser, Susan Harrington, John Ladd, Ruth Scarpelli, Michelle Heineman, Sarah Toole, Pam Stephens, Jean Hilt, Gene Zajac, Mary Ann McCann, Randi Wertenbach, Bob Glauser, Paul Ladd and Gay Pippert, Richard Gump, Barb Chrysler, and Carmen Trisler each watched their feeders and yards for a few hours that day to record the birds and woodpeckers who came to visit. Several species were also sighted near Massie Cliff Side Preserve.

Middle Bass Bird Counts

On Middle Bass, Nancy Welter and Teddi Keith-Morris walked and drove the forests and shores of the island to tally a total of 1,398 birds. The most numerous birds were American robins at 254 followed by 223 lesser scaups. The highlight of the day was a great horned owl at the Bass Club and cedar waxwings bathing in a puddle. Paul Ladd, Lisa, and Russ Brohl visited Green Island on December 13th as part of the Christmas Bird Count. Forty-five birds were counted, including a great horned owl and three kinds of woodpeckers-downy, red-bellied, and northern flicker. A permit was received from Ohio Division of Wildlife for the visit-thanks to Paul Ladd for running Lisa and Russ over in his outboard on a perfect, calm day.

Kelleys and Pelee Island Bird Counts

Counters were also busy at Kelleys and Pelee Island though we have not gotten the final results yet. We were surprised to see sandhill cranes that flew overhead as well as a Pacific loon that showed up the day after the count. Final results and species counts will be posted on the Lake Erie Islands Conservancy website when available. Those counting birds will return in the spring!