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Snow fell at the 28th annual Wallowa County Christmas Bird Count and so did a flock of records.

Count records for seven species were established and one was tied. The count was conducted Dec. 14.

Snow fell during portions of the count and was blowing hard at times. There was two inches of snow on the ground over much of the count area during the annual event. Twenty-six people took part.

Following are the count records which were established:

• bald eagles: a total of 30 were seen, topping the old record by one.

• buffleheads: 84 were spotted, shattering the old record of 68.

• bushtits: three were spotted in Enterprise, the first time any bushtits have been seen during the count.

• common goldeneyes: 161 were recorded, topping the old record of 109.

• common mergansers: 123 were counted, far ahead of the previous mark of 85.

• common ravens: 290 were located, topping the old record of 173.

• hooded mergansers: seven were spotted, one more than the old record of six.

• rock doves: 281 were recorded, toppling the old mark of 242.

• swamp sparrows: 10 were located, five times the old record of two.

• western grebes: 10 were counted, breaking the old record of nine.

• wild turkeys: 13 were spotted, no wild turkeys had been recorded during the count until now

In addition one sandhill crane and one loggerhead shrike were spotted, both tying previous count marks

The most populous bird in this year's count was the European starling at 665. The number of starlings was far below the record of 2,016. The house finch took second at 406.

Seventy-nine species were counted and a total of 6,769 birds were recorded.

Wallowa County's count area — between Joseph and Enterprise — has a 15-mile diameter involving 177 square miles. It takes in Enterprise, Joseph, Wallowa Lake, Zumwalt Prairie, Little Sheep Creek and other sites. The area was selected because of its diversity of habitat. The same area has been used since the count started.

This was the 104th anniversary of the original Christmas Bird Count. Each Canadian province, every American state and many South American counties have organizations participating.

In North America there are about 2,000 count sites, with 50,000 people participating each year.

The 2004 Wallowa County Christmas Bird Count is tentatively set for Sunday, Dec. 19. Anyone who would like to be involved and is not yet on the count's mailing list should contact Joe Minato at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or call him at 541-398-0150.


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