The Kendall Christmas Bird Count was held on December 23, 2023. Early birders were subjected to pelting rainstorms, but fortunately most of the rain had moved through by about 9am; the rest of the day was mostly cloudy, and getting breezy in the afternoon. Especially in the afternoon, the winds caused birds to stay low and stay quiet.
In all, we tallied 139 species, plus 7 exotics and 1 taxon (Selasphorus hummingbird). New for the Count day were 2 separate Ash-throated Flycatchers (at R. Hardy Matheson and in southwest Kendall), and a Sandwich Tern at Black Point. A new exotic, White-eyed Parakeet, was also found. In addition, there were 3 Count Week birds – the long-present Red-headed Woodpecker at Matheson, a Hooded Warbler at AD Barnes, and the Black-throated Gray Warbler (also a new bird for the Count) that turned up at Pine Woods Park on Christmas morning.
Other highlights included 2 Western Kingbirds, 2 Western Tanagers, Hermit Thrush, Blue Grosbeak, and American Robin, all of which have been previously seen 3 times or less on the Count. Oddly enough, we did not have a single swallow of any species.
As we like to brag, the Kendall Count is “Where America’s Warblers Winter”; the Count routinely leads the nation in certain numbers of neotropical migrants, and although we did not approach our historic numbers, we rebounded nicely from last year’s cold-induced low tallies, and tied our all-time high for Orange-crowned Warbler (27).
As I’ve written on many recent summaries, the lack of available lake/marsh-type habitat for fresh water ducks and non-coastal shorebirds continues, and these birds are simply disappearing from the Count Circle. Aside from ubiquitous Muscovy Ducks, “Mallards” and Egyptian Geese, we had only 4 Mottled Ducks. That is the entire list of pond ducks. There were NO Blue-winged Teal for the first time ever. We also had only 2 Ring-necked Ducks, but we did, however, tally 6 Lesser Scaup. Least Sandpiper was missed for the fourth straight year, after having been seen on 16 of the first 17 counts, and Long-billed Dowitcher was missed for the second year in a row. On the plus side, we tied our all-time high (14) of Spotted Sandpipers.
Once again, thanks to our feeder watchers, who contributed key birds (including the only House Finch). It would be great if more backyard birders would provide their yard/feeder lists. Who knows where we could be if more people in Coral Gables, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, and Kendall would spend just one hour surveying their yards and feeders!
On a personal note, this was my last year as Compiler, having served since 2006. I’ve enjoyed being Compiler, and especially loved all my birding friends who have so generously participated every year! Luis Gonzalez will be taking over as compiler for the 2024 Count, and I hope you will all continue to support this very important count.
Thank you again to all the participants:
Alex Harper, Alyssa Crittenden, Amanda Mayo, Andrea Diamond, Betty Hernandez, Bonnie Masdeu, Brian Rapoza, Carlos Sanchez, Cheryl Moffett, Christina Mayo, Cynthia Gonzalez, Dan Smyth, Elizabeth Gushee, Frank Ridgely and all the Zoo volunteers (Allison Huss, Christina Whelen, Ezequiel Bugallo, Hailey Beauperthuy, Josephine Whelen, Kibby Treiber, Larry Hembree, Lucas Whelan, Nancy Hembree, Russell Martin, Scott Daniel) Gabriella Espinoza, Gemma Henderson, Glenn Huberman, Hans Gozembach, Homer Gardin, Jack Crittenden, James Gersing, James Jones, Jeanette Rawls, Jeanne Kaufman, Joe Barros, Joseph Montes de Oca, Kevin Sarsfield, Lianne D’Arcy, Linda Rickerson, Luis Gonzalez, Michele Louden, Miriam Avello, Noah Frade, Omar Paez, Omilcar Barrio, Rachel DiPietro, Rangel Diaz, Roberto Torres, Roxanne Featherly, Scott Barkow, Silvia Bermudez, Stephen Paez, Steve Woodmansee.
As always, special thanks to the wonderful people at Zoo Miami, Fairchild Tropical Gardens, and Montgomery Botanical Center, who open their properties for us on the Count each year!
The bird list for Count Day (including exotics):
Rufous/Allen’s (selasphorus) Hummingbird
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Great Horned Owl
Great Crested Flycatcher
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler