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19,482 birds reported in annual count

Nearly 19,500 birds were recorded by the 40+ volunteer bird enthusiasts who participated in Sunday’s annual Christmas Bird Count in Mathews County and the Ware Neck area of Gloucester.

Numbers were up significantly from the previous year, when 17,717 birds were either seen or heard. The higher numbers may be due, in part, to a couple of large flocks of migrating ducks.

The annual survey, part of the Audubon Society’s 116th annual Christmas Bird Count, is held to provide a snapshot for ornithologists and conservation biologists about how the nation’s bird population is faring.

The 19,482 birds counted this year represent 102 different species, according to local bird count organizer Joyce McKelvey. She said the total number of birds was boosted by several thousand ducks that were reported in larger flocks from the Ware Neck and Hallieford sectors.

McKelvey said some of the rarities so far that were listed, pending further documentation of a photo, included the Blue...

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