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Birds abound in Hancock County for spring count

Nearly 40 members of the Hancock County Naturalists conducted their annual spring bird count on May 10, tallying the birds they saw and heard. They recorded 145 species and 6,554 individual birds, both above average.
American robins were the most numerous with 661 counted, followed by common grackles at 353, and red-winged blackbirds with 320.
Warblers are some of the toughest birds to identify by either sight or sound, and it takes experience to get it right. They found 27 species hiding among the branches.
Warblers: ovenbird, 11; waterthrush, 3; yellowthroat, 39; American redstart, 38; northern parula, 14; and yellow-breasted chat, 2; gold-winged, 1; black-and-white, 7; prothonotary, 1; orange-crowned, 3; Tennessee, 17; Nashville, 10; mourning, 1; Cape May, 18; magnolia, 22; bay-breasted, 6; Blackburnian, 19; yellow, 94; chestnut-sided, 13; blackpoll, 5; black-throated blue, 12; palm, 37; yellow-rumped, 104; yellow-throated, 3; black-throated green, 20; Canada, 2; and Wilson’s, 3.
Other birds identified:
Water-oriented birds: Canada goose, 272; wood duck, 30; widgeon, 2; mallard, 139; blue-winged teal, 7; lesser scaup, 1; surf scoter, 4; red-breasted merganser, 1; common loon, 12; horned grebe, 6; double-crested cormorant, 105; bittern, 1; great blue heron, 40; green heron, 7; coot, 11; kingfisher, 9.
Gulls and terns: ring-billed gull, 285; herring gull, 2; black tern, 3; Forester’s tern, 1.
Rails, plovers and sandpipers: Sora rail, 1; black-bellied plover, 1; spotted sandpiper, 88; solitary sandpiper, 1; ruddy turnstone, 2; semi-palmated sandpiper; killdeer, 61; least sandpiper, 10; pectoral sandpiper, 3; and dunlin, 5.
Raptors and owls: turkey vulture, 165; osprey, 1; bald eagle, 7; sharp-shinned hawk, 1; Cooper’s hawk, 4; red-shouldered hawk, 1; red-tailed hawk, 17; screech owl, 1; barred owl, 2; kestrel, 3.
Sparrows: chipping, 143; field, 35; savannah, 7; song, 68; white-throated, 17; white-crowned, 37.
Finches: house, 39, goldfinch, 279; house sparrow (actually a weaver finch), 176.
Flycatchers: olive-sided, 1; wood-pewee, 13; yellow-bellied, 1; Acadian, 1; least, 7; great crested, 26; kingbird, 13; phoebe, 23.
Swallows and swifts: tree, 89; rough-winged, 47; barn, 64; purple martin, 5; nighthawk, 5; chimney swift, 53.
Vireos: white-eyed, 3; yellow-throated, 3; blue-headed, 1; warbling, 47; Philidelphia, 3; red-eyed, 21; Bell’s, pending positive identification.
Woodpeckers: Red-headed, 24; red-bellied, 78; downy, 60; hairy, 10; pileated, 5; and 28 flickers. Woodpeckers in general were up, possibly a side effect of the standing dead ash trees which create quite an insect buffet.
Also identified: turkey, 6; rock pigeon, 8; mourning dove, 182; black-billed cuckoo, 4; ruby-throated hummingbird, 13; blue jay, 108; crow, 49; horned lark, 27; Carolina chickadee, 3; black-capped chickadee, 10; tufted titmouse, 44; red-breasted nuthatch, 2; white-breasted nuthatch, 36; brown creeper, 1; Carolina wren, 22; house wren, 76; ruby-crowned kinglet, 11; and 64 gnatcatchers.
Bluebird, 27; veery, 7; gray-cheeked thrush, 3; Swainson’s thrush, 16; hermit thrush, 2; wood thrush, 22; robin, 661; catbird, 242; mockingbird, 6; brown thrasher, 17; starling, 260; pipit, 6; cedar waxwing, 15; waterthrush, 3; towhee, 15; scarlet tanager, 12; cardinal, 162; rose-breasted grosbeak, 50; indigo bunting, 34; red-winged blackbird, 320; meadowlark, 21; rusty blackbird, 2; grackle, 353; cowbird, 258; orchard oriole, 11; and Baltimore oriole, 110.
The harsh winter had little effect on most migrant birds. The majority winter from extreme southern U.S. through Central and South America. Their migratory patterns are determined more by sunlight levels and storm fronts.
The prolonged spring slowed trees from leafing out, leaving more opportunities for birders to spot the avian travelers.
Many thanks to Hancock County Naturalist and birder Bob Sams for supplying results of the survey.
Along the Way:
The National Rifle Association and Smith & Wesson are bringing a new online series featuring the experiences of women who are new to shooting and guns.
“When you do it right, guns aren’t just tools, they’re fun,” said Natalie Foster, NRA news commentator.
“I know from experience that it’s all about starting off on the right foot.”
Love At First Shot aims to help women who are interested in learning more about shooting and developing their skills, but who might feel uncomfortable with guns or intimidated by the often male-dominated firearm community.
Featuring expert women shooters and on-location filming, the show focuses on cultivating familiarity, appreciation and knowledge of firearms and the shooting sports.
Episodes include “First Trip to the Range,” “Concealed Carry” and “First Hunt.” Episodes will release monthly. For Episode 1, visit: http://nrawomen.tv/love-at-first-shot.
Step Outside:
• Today and tomorrow: IDPA Shoot, registration begins at 9 a.m. UCOA, 6943 Marion Township 243, Findlay.
Abrams is a retired wildlife officer supervisor for the state Division of Wildlife in Findlay. He can be reached at P.O. Box 413, Mount Blanchard, OH 45867-0413 or via email at jimsfieldnotes@aol.com.

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