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A female cardinal was spotted Sunday at Itasca State Park, the first ever recorded in the National Audubon Society's annual Christmas Bird Count. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Cardinal steals the show at annual winter bird count


The star of the annual Christmas Bird Count was appropriately one well represented in holiday décor.

"A cardinal!" exclaimed the dozen volunteers who came to Itasca State Park Sunday for the annual National Audubon Society's 111th census that tracks bird populations and trends throughout the United States.

The count runs from midnight to midnight on that single day. Some birds are tracked by sounds only due to limited lighting conditions.

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Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.

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