The 2022 Bird Count took place despite heavy snow across some of the higher elevation portions of our circle. Early snow and rain gave way to a partly cloudy day with decent conditions for birding. Access to some areas was limited by snow-covered roads. In all, 27 participants took part in one of our seven area field counts, with an additional 11 birders conducted feeder counts from their homes. Participants drove more than 220 miles and walked walked nearly 32 miles to cover our annual survey routes. Our team found a total of 3,940 individual birds, a significant decline from 2021's total of 5,614. We observed 55 total species this year, also down from last year's 60 species. However, this was consistent with our average over the past 20 years.
Interesting finds included 2 Great Blue Herons at the Cersosimo Setbacks, a Northern Goshawk in the Sunset Lake area, 2 Red-shouldered Hawks (only the fourth time this species has been found and the first time more than one was seen) and 4 Iceland Gulls found at the dump in Brattleboro. This was the first time since 2004 Iceland Gull has been found on the Brattleboro Count. A pair of Black Vultures observed in Brattleboro was a new addition to our count circle list (the 125th species observed in the history of the count). Northern Harrier and Peregrine Falcon, both in Vernon, were also unusual sightings on this year's count.
Notable absences included Common Goldeneye, Ruffed Grouse, Belted Kingfisher, Horned Lark, Snow Bunting, and Pine Siskins. Fewer birders out in the field, as well as fewer feeder counts this year likley contributed to some of our lower numbers.