Results of Fall Bird Counts and a Fall BirdBlitz Conducted in the Upper Cumberland Region during 2008
|A female-plumaged Summer Tanager at a "watering hole" on Brookhaven Dr., Cumberland Co.; photo DJ Stanley (16 October 2008). Note the Chipping Sparrow in the left background. These species were common (tanager) and abundant (sparrow) on fall bird counts and birdblitzes conducted this fall in the Region.|
Data for 141 species of birds were obtained during collective efforts—including two Fall Bird Counts (FBC) and one Fall BirdBlitz (FBB)—to monitor the birdlife of the Region this fall. This total is slightly higher than the collective totals achieved on Regional FBCs and FBBs conducted during 2007 (133), 2006 (139), and 2005 (135). In the table below all 141 species are listed with data from the various counts following the species' names.
The FBC conducted in Putnam County, TN, was the 9th consecutively in that county; the FBC in White County, TN, was the 5th consecutively there; and the FBB in Cumberland County, KY, was the first ever in that county. To see a map of the Region highlighting counties where the FBB and the FBCs were conducted, click on the following link:
Loggerhead Shrikes were once again tallied on the White County FBC, but this species still seems to be slowly and seemingly inexorably disappearing from the Regional bird scene and joining two other formerly fairly common and one formerly rare species now absent or almost absent from the Regional avifauna: Red-cockaded Woodpecker (formerly rare), Bewick's Wren (formerly fairly common), and Bachman's Sparrow (formerly fairly common). Of course, the disappearance of these species from the Region was preceded by the Regional extirpation (and range-wide extinction) of the Carolina Parakeet, the Passenger Pigeon, and possibly the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.
On the positive side of the avifaunistic ledger, we can see in the fall survey data modestly good numbers of some species that had become rare or very uncommon in the Region as a result of hunting pressure during the early decades of the Twentieth Century, three of these being Canada Goose, Wild Turkey, and Great Blue Heron. Significant increases in the populations of the first two species during the past three decades resulted from reintroduction efforts and presumably from more ethical hunting following reintroduction, while increases in the population of the latter species during that same period probably resulted from increasing protection afforded by such legislation as the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and associated state-level protective measures. The fall survey data also reveal the continuing presence of some non-game species that invaded the Region during the last half of the Twentieth Century, such as Brown-headed Nuthatch and Blue Grosbeak, and the presence of one small-game species, Eurasian Collared-Dove, that has invaded the Region in the past couple of decades.
Some bird species undergo irregular irruptions tied to food resource availability in parts of their ranges. For instance, the Red-breasted Nuthatch is prone to occasional southerly irruptions during winter. The appearance of this species on only one of the Region's fall surveys indicates that such an irruption event is probably not underway. Whether irruptive movements by other boreal species during the coming winter will take place remains to be seen.
The Regional fall survey data for 2008 are too few and thus too coarse-grained to allow us much of a glimpse of the migratory patterns for most species that occur in the Region as other than permanent residents. By viewing the fall survey data below as a means of gauging the waning numbers of summer residents over the period of time covered by the fall surveys or as a means of gauging the waxing numbers of winter residents over the same period of time, we obtain at most a somewhat obscured picture of these migratory events. To bring clarity to this picture, the Region's FBCs and FBBs will probably need to increase to about ten well spaced out events each fall. With data from that number of surveys in hand, the migratory "pulse" for each species will be much more evident than it is in the data below. Despite the coarse-grained nature of the following data, a rough image of the migratory pattern of some species can be discerned. By scanning the data below for other migrants, you can judge how well the 2008 fall data reflect what we currently know about each species' migratory pattern during fall. In some cases the data are moderately accurate, but in others they just do not tell us much about the species' migratory pattern.
For greater detail about the results of the Fall Bird Counts (FBC) in Putnam and White counties, Tennessee, and the Fall BirdBlitz (FBB*) in Cumberland County, Kentucky, or to return to the central node for FBCs or to the BirdPage, click on one of the following links:
|Putnam, TN||White, TN||Cumberland, KY|
|Type of Count||FBC||FBC||FBB|
|Number Field Observers||15||10||21|
|Number of Feederwatchers||5||1||0|
|Great Blue Heron||25||23||5|
|Bald Eagle||--||1 ad.||1 ad.|
|Great Horned Owl||5||12||5|
|Great Crested Flycatcher||1||--||--|
|Cape May Warbler||--||1|
|Black-throated Blue Warbler||--||1||--|
|Black-throated Green Warbler||2||24||11|
|Putnam, TN||White, TN||Cumberland, KY|
Key to compilers: SJS = Stephen J. Stedman; DAD = Douglas A. Downs.
* A Fall BirdBlitz (FBB) differs from a Fall Bird Count (FBC) only in that the former is not an annually repeated count, while the latter is.
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