Christmas Bird Count – 2017 Preliminary Results

Hi Society!

2017 Christmas Bird Count Preliminary Results


We have the preliminary results for the 2017 Anchorage Christmas Bird Count which was held on Saturday, December 16, 2017.  It’s long, but we’ll give it a try.

What a Christmas Bird Count! The preliminary results are in, but please be advised that these results will change as the final data is tabulated, and our view of the results is based on very early and largely un-analyzed data. But what a day!

This year, counters found FIFTY-FIVE SPECIES, which exceeds the previous all time high of 52 species set in 1984 by THREE SPECIES. Holy Smokes!

The total number of birds seen was 10,627 which is above the mean number of 8,155, but is far below the record number of 30,606. The record number is of course dependent on highly inruptive species such as Bohemian Waxwings and Common Redpolls which have reached as many as 22,000 and 8,000 birds respectively in certain years.

2017 ANC CBC - # of Species


The great news is that ELEVEN species were at their all-time High: Northern Shoveler (2), Harlequin Duck (2), Bufflehead (2), Rock Pigeon (1209), Hermit Thrush (1), Orange-crowned Warbler (1), Red-breasted Nuthatch (512), American Dipper (48), Robins (406), Song Sparrow (1), and Sharp-tailed Grouse (1).

Birds at an almost all-time high were Gray Jays, Steller’s Jays, Rock Ptarmigan, and unfortunately European Starlings.

Species with a below average showing included Common Goldeneyes, Dark-eyed Juncos, Pine Grosbeaks, and Common Redpolls. Species looking way below average were Bohemian Waxwings, White-winged Crossbills, and Pine Siskins.

Our 55 species seen compares to a mean number of 33, and as usual, there were a number of species represented by only ONE single sighting of one individual. This is fairly usual, but the number was high this year with 17 of 51 species being represented by only one individual. Those single sightings were: Sharp-shinned Hawk, Merlin, Gyrfalcon, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Wilson’s Snipe, Great Horned Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Hermit Thrush, Varied Thrush, Orange-crowned Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Snow Bunting, Pacific Wren, Short-eared Owl, and Hoary Redpoll.

New birds to the count were the Hermit Thrush, Northern Shoveler, and the Sharp-tailed Grouse. The Sharp-tailed Grouse was the highlight of the day since it was also the FIRST RECORD of that species ever seen in Anchorage.

Here’s how that happened:

Visiting birder Michael Woodruff and his wife were walking the Coastal Trail between Elderberry Park and Westchester Lagoon. The Grouse walked across the trail in front of them. They thought it was unusual, but because they are not from Anchorage, they did not realize what a stunning bird they had stumbled upon.

They called Area 2 Leader Andrew Fisher who called W. Keys. Between them, they realized that there was a very good reason that they were shouting to each other on the phone. Word went back to Michael who re-found the bird, and word went out to birders across town. The stampede to the spot was on.

From her deck, the lady whose yard it had chosen said, “It’s been here for about 3 weeks. I’ve been feeding it and thought it was some kind of ptarmigan.

It was a fabulous day, and the Tally Party and Chili Feed was a stellar event as well. Ginormous thanks go to everyone who participated in the Count, to everyone who brought dishes to the Potluck, to the Area Leaders for coordinating their teams, to Keith Confer who worked tirelessly to make the Tally Spreadsheet clear and concise, and to Louann Feldmann who once again organized the entire city-wide Christmas Bird Count effort. She is nothing less than a Citizen Science Goddess!

And finally, we can’t heap enough praise on visiting birder Michael Woodruff and his wife who not only found the Sharp-tailed Grouse, but also turned up the single Song Sparrow and the single Snow Bunting in the same immediate area!

2017 ANC CBC - # of Individuals


Data from the Anchorage Count follows below, and is sorted according to the number of each species seen.  The Tally Party and Chili Feed was a fabulous get-together, and we’d like to thank the First Congregational Church, Lynn Barber, and Louann Feldmann for making the evening possible.

Also worthy of our highest praise are Area Leaders Thede Tobish, Andrew Fisher, Daria Carle, Tom Evans, Dick Prentki, and Pat Pourchot;  Chief Coordinator Louann Feldmann;  and all of the many, many counters and feeder watchers who provided the data for this year’s count.

The total species seen are listed here from most prevalent to least prevalent. This year’s total exceeds the all-time record of 52 set in 1984 by THREE SPECIES!


Black-capped Chickadee 1874
Mallard 1320
Rock Pigeon 1209
Bohemian Waxwing 1166
Common Redpoll 799
Black-billed Magpie 708
Common Raven 652
European Starling 601
Red-breasted Nuthatch 512
Pine Grosbeak 482
American Robin 406
Boreal Chickadee 337
Steller’s Jay 109
Downy Woodpecker 55
Redpoll Species 53
American Dipper 48
Golden-crowned Kinglet 38
White-winged Crossbill 28
Gray Jay 25
Hairy Woodpecker 23
Gray-crowned Rosy Finch 20
Dark-eyed Junco 19
Bald Eagle 16
Willow Ptarmigan 16
Pine Siskin 14
Common Goldeneye 13
Common Merganser 13
Brown Creeper 8
Northern Shrike 7
Northern Goshawk 6
Rock Ptarmigan 5
Townsend’s Solitaire 3
Northern Shoveler 2
Harlequin Duck 2
Bufflehead 2
Spruce Grouse 2
Am. Three-toed Woodpecker 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
Green-winged Teal 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Merlin 1
Gyrfalcon 1
Sharp-tailed Grouse 1
Wilson’s Snipe 1
Short-eared Owl 1
Great Horned Owl 1
Northern Saw-whet Owl 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Pacific Wren 1
Hermit Thrush 1
Varied Thrush 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
White-crowned Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 1
Snow Bunting 1
Hoary Redpoll 1
Total # of Species 55
Total # of Individuals Birds 10627


As seen during the Tally Party, graphs have been made of each species on a per year basis since the count began.  These graphs are available for viewing via the following link:

Graphs of Species by Year (click on this link)

Results will be made final once all sightings have been fully vetted, so please consider these results as preliminary for the time being.

Christmas Bird Count – Saturday, December 16, 2017

Christmas Bird Count 2017 and Tally Potluck Chili Feed

 at the First Congregational Church, 2610 E. Northern Lights Blvd – 5:30 PM


Anchorage Audubon Society sponsors the National Audubon Christmas Bird Count each year in December. Anchorage is divided into 5 Areas and those areas are further divided into teams, each led by an experienced birder.

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Membership Meeting – Thursday, December 14, 2017

Birding Southeastern Arizona – A Birders Paradise for all Seasons – Andrew Fisher

at the BP Energy Center – 7:00 PM

Southeastern Arizona is one of the top birding destinations in North America for its wide variety of regional endemics and Mexican vagrants. From easy to access Madera Canyon, to the mysterious rock formations of the Chiricahua Mountains, Southeastern Arizona is a place full of adventure, excitement, and some serious 3rd world road conditions.

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The Alaska Department of Fish & Game – Help Protect Potter Marsh – Donations Needed

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game

Help Protect Potter Marsh

Donations Needed

October 4, 2017 Update: With generous donations, The Conservation Fund is nearing its’ goal to protect Anchorage’s most beloved wildlife viewing area (150,000 visits a year!). We say “nearing”, because the goal hasn’t quite been reached yet. Read on and if you haven’t already generously donated, please consider doing so.

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Audubon Alaska – Birding Basics II – September 19, 2017

Audubon Alaska

Birding Basics II:  Become a Better Birder

You’re invited!

Do you have some basics down, but want to become a better birder? Explore the exciting world of birding in this workshop! During this all-ages program, you will learn how to identify birds in non-breeding plumage, learn about bird anatomy, and learn how to use apps and field guides to identify birds while in the field.
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Fall Potluck & Photo Sharing Party – September 21, 2017

Fall Potluck & Photo Sharing Party

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Join us Thursday, Sept. 21,  for Anchorage Audubon’s Annual End-Of-Summer Potluck Party and bring your favorite photos of your summer adventures.

Get together with your birding pals and share photos, tasty treats, and tall tales.  Bring a dish to share—Hot Or Cold but no plug-in heating devices are allowed in the room.  Plates, utensils & beverages will be provided as well as napkins for any sloppy eaters who attend.

Share your best photos with an ultimately appreciative audience.    Bring your own laptop if it makes your show better, or take a chance with ours.  Projector will be provided.

Wilson's Warbler

Wilson’s Warbler

Red-necked Phalarope

Red-necked Phalarope

Northern Waterthrush

Northern Waterthrush

Emperor Goose

Emperor Goose


Presentations will be limited to 5 minutes on the first round.  When all presenters have had their turn, we’ll start at the top once again.  A $5 donation/fine to Audubon will be assessed for anyone who goes over the time limit.
We’ll re-cap summer Audubon outings and sightings.  Fabulous Prizes will be awarded.  Please note the early meeting time of 6:30 PM because it’s a pot luck dinner.

FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS:  This year, in order to minimize set-up time at the party, you MUST submit your photos IN ADVANCE by Sunday, Sept. 17.

Contact W. Keys at to arrange for an early photo transfer. 

Photos should be in jpeg format, and should be consecutively numbered in the title to make sure they load in the order you intend. Just put them on a thumb drive and contact W. Keys.

Thursday, September 21, 2017:  6:30 pm

BP Energy Center

Fall Freeze Up Bird Walk – Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fall Freeze Up Field Trip

October 14, 2017

meet at the Cuddy Pond parking lot just south of the

Loussac Library and north of Cuddy Pond

8:30 AM

Come watch waterfowl and other birds at hotspots around town before the lakes freeze.

Andrew Fisher will lead this outing to a number of good waterbird locations around town including Westchester Lagoon and Lake Hood.

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Membership Meeting – Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ecological Atlas of the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas – presented by Audubon Alaska

at the BP Energy Center – 7:00 PM

Join us Thursday, October 19, for Anchorage Audubon’s October general membership meeting when Audubon Alaska will present their new Ecological Atlas of the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas.

Who was Vitus Bering, what kind of name is Chukchi, and is Beaufort pronounced “buuefort”, “bowefort”, or “bowfort”?

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Membership Meeting – Thursday, November 16, 2017

Unfortunately the November 16 AAS meeting has been canceled

The Mysteries of American Dippers in Portage Valley

at the BP Energy Center – 7:00 PM

Our November program is going to be greatDr. Douglas Causey (Biology Professor and Senior Arctic Advisor to the Chancellor at UAA) has been researching American Dippers for four (4) years with two (2) of his students, Rachel Jones and Saige Thomas.

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Membership Meeting – Thursday, January 18, 2018

Some Birds of Eastern Australia

at the BP Energy Center – 7:00 PM

Join us Thursday, January 18, for Anchorage Audubon’s January general membership meeting where Anchorage Audubon’s own Vivian Mendenhall will regale us with all she knows about birding Eastern Australia.

Australia has 850 species of beautiful birds, from parrots to pardalotes, and from frigatebirds to friarbirds. Most are not related to North American species.

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Membership Meeting – Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Mysteries of American Dippers in Portage Valley

at the BP Energy Center – 7:00 PM

Our February program is going to be greatDr. Douglas Causey (Biology Professor and Senior Arctic Advisor to the Chancellor at UAA) has been researching American Dippers for four (4) years with two (2) of his students, Rachel Jones and Saige Thomas.

On Thursday evening, February 15, we get the benefit of this research when they’ll tell us all about the Mysteries of American Dippers in the Portage Valley

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Annual Event – February 24, 2018

Anchorage Audubon’s Annual

Seward Winter Birding Field Trip

Work off all those Holiday Cookies!

Join Andrew Fisher and Anchorage Audubon for a free winter birding excursion to enjoy Seward’s diversity of wintering birds and the possibility of a few rarities.  Come dressed for a variety of weather conditions, bring your ice grippers, and plan for a fun day with great company!

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Membership Meeting – Thursday, March 15, 2018

Using Citizen Science to Study Boreal Bird in Southcentral Alaska:  Birds ‘n’ Bogs at Age 5

at the BP Energy Center – 7:00 PM

Join us Thursday, March 15, for Anchorage Audubon’s March general membership meeting when Audrey Taylor, a faculty member in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at UAA will talk about her Birds ‘n’ Bogs Program

Audrey started Birds ’n’ Bogs with Audubon Alaska in 2013.

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Copper River Shorebird Festival – May 3 – 6, 2018

Copper River Shorebird Festival

Cordova, Alaska

Highlighting a vast number of migratory shorebirds stopping over on the Copper River Delta, this is truly a great festival in the fabulous  town of Cordova.  This is where you go for Avian tonnage!  This year’s Keynote Speaker is Dr. Stephen Kress; the Vice-President for Bird Conservation for the National Audubon Society and the Director of the Audubon Seabird Restoration Program and Hog Island Audubon Camp.… Read the rest

Campbell Creek BLM Early Morning Birdwalks – May 10, 2018

Campbell Creek BLM Early Morning Birdwalks

Tired of just seeing magpies and ravens?  Welcome the Spring Songbirds!

Develop and fine-tune your birding skills and witness the progression of songbird migration through the Campbell Tract this spring. Join the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) staff and Anchorage Audubon Society members for a series of early morning outdoor bird walks May 10, 17, 24, & 31.Read the rest

26th Annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival – May 10-13, 2018

Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival

26th Annual Festival

Alaska’s largest birding festival features a huge array of field trips, seminars, and speakers.  2018 festival highlights include Keynote Speaker, Noah Strycker; Associate Editor of Birding magazine and featured presenters Raymond VanBuskirk and Iain Campbell.  Located in the bustling town of Homer, this will certainly be a birding highlight of the year.  There are field trips, boat trips, kayak trips,  ID seminars,  and this years’ festival spotlights the artwork of Homers’ own Erin Rae D’Eimon.… Read the rest

HawkWatch 2018 – March 7 – May 15, 2018

HawkWatch International

Count Hawks at Gunsight Mountain

at Mileposts 120 and 121 of the Glenn Highway 

This spring, a decades-long goal will happen for the third year in a row!  We have always wanted to do a complete and thorough Hawk Watch for an entire season at Gunsight Mountain. 

This year, thanks to Neil Paprocki, it will become a reality once again!
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Annual Event – March 23-24, 2018

The Big Anchorage Birding Day

Celebrate the First Day of Spring with

another Audubon Cutthroat Competition!!

Believe it or not, Spring is on the way, and what better way to celebrate than by scouring the Anchorage Municipality for birds.

From Eklutna to Portage–How many species can your team find in 24 hours from 5:00 PM on Friday March 23, 2017 until 5:00 PM on Saturday March 24, 2018.
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Membership Meeting – Thursday, April 19, 2018

Beginning Birding Class

The Perfect Opportunity to Learn

What This Crazy Addiction Is All About!

at the BP Energy Center – 7:00 PM

If you’re looking for the perfect way to learn what birding is all about, we will present a course in “Birding for Beginners” at Anchorage Audubon’s April 19 Meeting.

This is a fabulous opportunity to learn about Birds and Birding from the beginning, and it’s just in time for our Spring Migration arrivals.

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Annual Event – Hawk Watch Weekend – April 21 – 22, 2018

The Gunsight Mountain Hawk Watch Weekend

The Harlan’s Hawk Capitol

of the World!

at Milepost 118.8 of the Glenn Highway:  10:00 AM

Our Annual Hawk Watch Weekend in collaboration with the Mat-Su Birders will take place this year on April 21 & 22nd.   It’s the Greatest Event of the Birding Year in Alaska!

Our Hawk Watch is known as “The Harlan’s Hawk Capital of the World” because you’ll see more Harlan’s Hawks here than anywhere else on Earth.… Read the rest