Birds

A pair of Horned larks are ready to be enumerated during the Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count Friday, Jan. 3.

TWENTYNINE PALMS — Volunteers taking part in this year’s Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count Friday, Jan. 3, here and in Joshua Tree National Park tallied 2,005 birds, representing 56 species.

This, organizers said, is about 600 birds below the average, though the number of species was slightly above average for the history of the count. Twenty-seven observers split into nine parties for the daylong bird census, some were led by Tom Haworth and others by retired ranger Joe Zarki.

“Weather conditions were great with fairly mild temperatures and light winds. The patchy snow at higher elevations of the count was rather unusual, and many normally dry creek beds had running water on Friday. Stock dams were mostly full,” Zarki reported.

Four invasive species, rock pigeon, Eurasian collared-dove, European starling, and house sparrow, dominated the count, comprised 37.7 percent of all birds reported Sunday indicating that native birds were fairly low in numbers overall.

Rovk pigeons led all other species, with 604 counted, most of them in the Twentynine Palms area.

“Some fairly common birds we missed this year include golden eagle, prairie falcon, killdeer, blue-gray gnatcatcher, western and mountain bluebirds, California towhee, brown-headed cowbird, and lesser goldfinch,” he reported.

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