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New Year's bird count sees drop in numbers

During the annual Audubon Society bird count, 1,048 birds were recorded on Mercer Island. Notable sightings on New Year's Day included three trumpeter swans, a barred owl and a common loon, and ruddy ducks and a hermit thrush were counted for the first time in recent years.

Ten participants counted 53 separate species on Jan. 1 — a decrease in the numbers from last year, when 2,988 total birds and 66 species were counted. The number of Canada goose decreased from 82 to 16, as did the number of adult bald eagles, from 11 to 6. The bird with the highest number of sightings last year, 326 lesser scaup, dropped to four total. No rock pigeons were seen, though there were 153 last year. There was an increase in the number of double-crested cormorants since last year, from 19 to 45, and the number of band-tailed pigeons remained at approximately one dozen. The temperature during the bird count was cooler this year, dropping from 40 degrees last year to 30 degrees on New Year's.

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