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17,405 birds spotted in annual count


The rain stayed away for the most part on Sunday as 41 birding enthusiasts took part in the local circle of the Audubon Society’s 114th annual Christmas Bird Count, according to Mathews count coordinator Joyce McKelvey.


Local volunteers counted a total of 17,405 birds of 106 species, as they walked through fields, along waterfronts and down country roads in Mathews County and the Ware Neck area of Gloucester.


While the number of species remained relatively unchanged from the previous year, the total number of birds rose significantly. In 2013, approximately 14,000 birds of 108 species were recorded. That count was held under much colder and windy conditions.


This year’s data reflects 20 adult and four immature bald eagles, 418 eastern bluebirds, and an impressive 404 American pipits reported by at least three sectors multiple times during their day, McKelvey said.


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