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Fewer birds seen in annual Whidbey Island count

The South Whidbey Christmas Bird Count ended with a lower count from the previous two years. In its third year, the South Whidbey Circle of Whidbey Audubon held their annual bird count on Friday, Dec. 27 across the South end.

In preliminary reports, the 62 field observers, four kitchen helpers and two feeder watchers counted 13,346 birds grouped into 107 species.

In 2012, 15,627 birds were counted for 105 species and in 2011, 14,585 birds were counted for 101 species.

The American robin was the most abundant species this year, with 1,291 birds. In 2012, 677 American robins were counted, and 836 were counted in 2011. Wigeons followed the American robin this year with 971 wigeons counted, followed by 741 juncos and 700 sandpipers. Other notable counts included 63 bald eagles, and 31 red-tailed hawks.

The group also reported a few unusual sightings with four urbanized wild turkeys in the Bayview area and one orange-crowned warbler in the South end. A dramatic decrease in pine siskins was observed this year with 93 counted for 2013 compared to 3,336 in 2012, and 728 in 2011.

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