[wisb] Counting Bohemian Waxwings

  • From: Ryan Brady <ryanbrady10@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <wisbirdn@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2011 14:06:51 -0700

Hi folks, this is more a cautionary heads-up than anything else but with all 
the Bohemian Waxwing reports of 100, 250, 300 birds etc. and plenty more to be 
seen yet this winter and spring I'm curious as to whether folks are making 
actual counts, systematic estimates, or gross estimates of overall flock size?  
In my experience, birders (myself included) vastly underestimate flock size in 
this species, often upwards of 40-70%, i.e. a flock estimated at 100 often has 
140-170+ birds.  Don't ask me why but without alot of experience it's very 
difficult to correctly gauge numbers of this species without actually counting, 
or at least more systematically estimating (e.g. 5, 10, 20 birds at a time).  
So I challenge you the next time you're up north to first estimate flock size 
as we often do and then make an actual count.  My money says there will be far 
more birds than you thought!

Ryan Brady
Washburn, Bayfield County, WI

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