PHOTOS: Reston Association Winter Bird Count Yields 2,100 Birds from 45 Species

Numbers down this year due to cold conditions and frozen lakes.

A red-shouldered hawk. (Photo by John Lankau)
A red-shouldered hawk. (Photo by John Lankau)
By Abby Stocking

Despite snow covered ground and temperatures well below freezing, over 30 Reston Association (RA) staff and volunteers conducted the annual Winter Bird Count on Saturday, January 4, 2014.

The Reston Winter Bird Count is one of two annual bird counts conducted by RA. The purpose of the counts is to take inventory of local wildlife and to monitor changes over time.

Participants assembled at 7 a.m. at the Walker Nature Center for a brief introduction by RA staff. Participants then split into four groups to count the number of species and individual birds spotted throughout Reston’s natural areas. 

This year’s count yielded over 2,100 individual birds from 45 species. Since the count was started in the mid-1990s the average number of birds has been around 2,200 individuals and 50 species.

The numbers were slightly down this year due to the cold conditions and ice-covered lakes and ponds. The most common bird recorded was the Canada Goose with a count topping 700 individuals.

The next most numerous birds were the Carolina Chickadee, Northern Cardinal and Dark-eyed Junco. Two Barred Owls were spotted in north Reston in the early morning hours.

A Common Raven was seen for the first time on a Reston Winter Bird Count.

Two Eastern Phoebes, which are usually found here in the warmer months, were seen for only the second time on the winter count.

The next count will be the Summer Bird Count on Saturday, June 7. Birders of all experience levels are encouraged to participate.

To see the full results of the winter count, or for more information, contact the Walker Nature Center at naturecenter@reston.org.

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