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Bird counting at Itasca State Park continues with Project FeederWatch

The final numbers for the 2021 Itasca State Park Winter Bird Count are in, but another bird count will continue until April.

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Counting birds like this pileated woodpecker at home feeders provides valuable data about bird populations. <br/>
Contributed / Minnesota Department of Natural Resources<br/>
We are part of The Trust Project.

“Some of the counters mentioned on the day that it seemed slow, however the numbers tell us a different story,” Itasca State Park naturalist Connie Cox said. “This count had the highest number of total birds seen for the period from 1995 to 2021 with a total of 1,263. And it ranked sixth for most bird species seen for the period from 1995 to 2021 with 29.”

Black-capped chickadees and American crows were the big winners this year with some record numbers being recorded.

It seems that 2021 was also a good year for winter and smaller finch migrants, including common redpolls, hoary redpolls, pine siskins, crossbill, pine grosbeak, American goldfinch, snow buntings, and dark-eyed juncos.

It was also a good year for bald eagles, ruffed grouse and some interesting “consecutive” records for relatively new birds on our counts, such as red-bellied woodpeckers, European starlings, and wild turkeys.

There is still time for people to be involved in winter bird counts through Project FeederWatch ( https://feederwatch.org ), put on by Cornell Lab, that continues until the end of April. People can participate in this project from their home. Details and interactive features are available on the website.

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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