Second highest number of bird species observed in 2022 Christmas bird count

Bonaparte’s Gulls on Newnan’s Lake
Credit: Tedd Greenwald

Courtesy of Florida Museum of Natural History


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Every year, scientists and volunteers across the country head out on a predetermined day in December with a single goal: Count as many birds as they can find within a 24-hour timespan. The brainchild of American Museum of Natural History ornithologist Frank Chapman, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count has taken place every year since 1900, making it the longest-running citizen-science-monitoring effort in the world.

American Robin at Newnan’s Lake
Credit: Tedd Greenwald

Alachua County’s count took place just before Christmas, and the results have now officially been tallied. Volunteers initially counted a record-breaking 176 species of birds, but two species were subsequently stricken from the count, knocking the final tally down to 174. That puts 2022 squarely in second place for the number of avian species observed in Alachua County.

Andy Kratter at Newnan’s Lake
Credit: Tedd Greenwald

Along with species that make a regular appearance every year, such as warblers, grackles, herons, and ibises, 2022 was a spectacular year for itinerant ducks and hummingbirds, some of which were observed for the first time in the count. A single broad-billed hummingbird turned up in someone’s yard after evidently getting lost during its annual migration. Most other hummingbirds of this species are currently overwintering in northwest Mexico, and they’ve never before been included in an Alachua County bird count. Two rufous hummingbirds also seem to have strayed wide of their western migration route from the Pacific Northwest to southern Mexico. A single canvasback — the largest diving duck in North America — was spotted in Paynes Prairie, and North America’s largest rail, the gray-headed swamphen, was observed in Sweetwater Wetlands park.

  • It would be nice to see a complete list of the 174 birds species. I have seen some at my backyard birdfeeder that aren’t on the Peterson’s Backyard Southeast chart.

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