2022 John Hintermister Gainesville Christmas Bird Count: a recap

Andy Kratter

The 2022 John Hintermister Gainesville Christmas Bird Count was a smashing success. Our grand
total was 174 species, just one short of our record 175 species in 2018. At the compilation dinner on
the night of the count, we thought we may have equaled or even surpassed the record, but the
powers that be have determined that the Whooping Crane does not count toward the total (they are
considered introduced and not established), and the observer retracted the Red-eyed Vireo, because
of lack of documentation. But 174 is our second-best species count ever and a very high count for
anywhere in Florida! Last year’s 169 species was good enough to top all the State’s 82 CBCs. This is
especially remarkable, considering that our count is found far inland and away from any salt water
habitats and their attendant bird species.

This year’s count got off to a cool start, with enough wind to add a bite and make finding those
skulking sparrows much more difficult. The sun poked out now and again to warm us up a bit, and
at the end of our long days, made a nice sunset. Thankfully we did not get any dreaded precipitation,
which hammered us at the end of last year’s CBC.

The stars at the compilation, this year held at the Prairie Creek Lodge, are the bird species that
were found that are not on our list of 163 regularly occurring species. By far the shiniest star was
the first Broad-billed Hummingbird ever documented on a Florida CBC. This adult male had been
frequenting hummingbird plants and a feeder at a residence near the north end of Barr Hammock
for one week. The gracious homeowner – Irma McLaughlin – has allowed scores of birders at her
place to view this special visitor, which should be in northwest Mexico this time of year. Other great
finds were a Dark-eyed Junco at Westside Park, a Tennessee Warbler at Sweetwater Wetlands, a
Northern Rough-winged Swallow in the Prairie Basin, a Vaux’s Swift returning on UF Campus, two
Rufous Hummingbirds, a Western Tanager in NE Gainesville, two American Black Ducks on the
prairie basin, two Nashville Warblers, four White-faced Ibis on the prairie basin, three Peregrine
Falcons, an Ash-throated Flycatcher at Persimmon Point, a Least Flycatcher on Cone’s Dike, a
Canvasback on the Prairie Basin, a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron on the Prairie Basin, and a Gray-
headed Swamphen at Sweetwater Wetlands.

The John Hintermister Gainesville Christmas Bird Count is becoming well known for leading the
nation in species with the highest counts. This is testament to the great and cohesive community of
birders and ornithologists in and around Gainesville. Last year, we had 14 such species, and this
year we will no doubt be exceptional again. Several notable high counts in 2022 included 215 Snail
Kites (which smashed the National all-time record set by us last year), 140 Rusty Blackbirds (are they
making a rebound from their decades-long decline?), 1576 Palm Warblers, 146 Black and white
Warblers, an amazing 19820 American Robins, 74 Barred Owls, 60 Green Herons, 12359 Ring-
necked Ducks, 45 Laughing Gulls, and 324 Muscovy Ducks. Notable misses were Eurasian
Collared-Dove, Red-breasted Merganser, and Dunlin. Thanks to all the team captains, observers,
and co-compiler Bob Carroll.

Species list (bold-faced species = rarity; bold-faced count = high count): Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 3718, Snow Goose-Blue 3, Snow Goose-White 1, Muscovy Duck 324, Wood Duck 235, Gadwall 225, American Wigeon 125, Mallard 9, American Black Duck 2, Mottled Duck 452, Blue-winged Teal 1427, Northern Shoveler 98, Northern Pintail 497, Green-winged Teal 1409, Canvasback 1, Redhead 4, Ring-necked Duck 12359, Lesser Scaup 80, Bufflehead 8, Hooded Merganser 151, Ruddy Duck 30, Northern Bobwhite 11, Wild Turkey 49, Pied-billed Grebe 74, Horned Grebe 3, Rock Pigeon 29, Common Ground-Dove 12, White-winged Dove4, Mourning Dove 272, Whip-Poor-Will 5, Vaux’s Swift 1, Broad-billed Hummingbird 1, Rufous Hummingbird 2, Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2, King Rail 9, Virginia Rail 14, Sora 87, Gray-headed Swamphen 3, Purple Gallinule 7, Common Gallinule 997, American Coot 1716, Limpkin 304, Sandhill Crane 6717, Whooping Crane 1, Killdeer 486, Least Sandpiper 160, Wilson’s Snipe 114, Long-billed Dowitcher 173, American Woodcock 2, Spotted Sandpiper 3, Greater Yellowlegs 60, Lesser Yellowlegs 37, Bonaparte’s Gull 164, Laughing Gull 42, Ring-billed Gull 384, Herring Gull 2, Forster’s Tern 19, Common Loon 3, Wood Stork 113, Double-crested Cormorant 763, Anhinga 326, American White Pelican 4, American Bittern 21, Least Bittern 9, Great Blue Heron 231, Great Egret 310, Snowy Egret 225, Little Blue Heron 383, Tricolored Heron 223, Cattle Egret 152, Green Heron 60, Black-crowned Night-Heron 169, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 1, White Ibis 2569, Glossy Ibis 743, White-faced Ibis 4, Roseate Spoonbill 8, Black Vulture 309, Turkey Vulture 1097, Osprey 23, Bald Eagle 139, Northern Harrier 68, Sharp-shinned Hawk 7, Cooper’s Hawk 17, Accipiter, sp. 1, Snail Kite 272, Red-shouldered Hawk 195, Red-tailed Hawk 41, Barn Owl 3, Eastern Screech-Owl 26, Great Horned Owl 51, Barred Owl 74, Belted Kingfisher 70, Red-headed Woodpecker 24, Red-bellied Woodpecker 469, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 76, Downy Woodpecker 194, Northern Flicker 15, Pileated Woodpecker 165, American Kestrel 49, Merlin 6, Peregrine Falcon 3, Least Flycatcher 1, Ash-throated Flycatcher 1, Eastern Phoebe 577, Vermilion Flycatcher 3, Loggerhead Shrike 26, White-eyed Vireo 67, Blue-headed Vireo 76, Blue Jay 188, American Crow 928, Fish Crow 102, Crow, sp. 13, Northern Rough-winged Swallow 1, Tree Swallow 1205, Carolina Chickadee 394, Tufted Titmouse 423, Brown-headed Nuthatch 3, House Wren 242, Sedge Wren 44, Marsh Wren 80, Carolina Wren 491, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 671, Golden-crowned Kinglet 2, Ruby-crowned Kinglet 761, Eastern Bluebird 354, Hermit Thrush 90, American Robin 19820, Gray Catbird 240, Brown Thrasher 14, Northern Mockingbird 116, European Starling 8, Cedar Waxwing 464, House Sparrow 36, American Pipit 7, House Finch 83, American Goldfinch 218, Ovenbird 16, Northern Waterthrush 13, Black-and-White Warbler 146, Orange-crowned Warbler 116, Nashville Warbler 1, Tennessee Warbler 1, Common Yellowthroat 320, American Redstart 2, Northern Parula 1, Palm Warbler 1576, Pine Warbler 201, Yellow-rumped Warbler 3028, Yellow-throated Warbler 63, Prairie Warbler 6, Wilson’s Warbler 1, Yellow-breasted Chat 2, Eastern Towhee 52, Field Sparrow 3, Chipping Sparrow 1487, Vesper Sparrow 11, Savannah Sparrow 196, Grasshopper Sparrow 9, Henslow’s Sparrow 4, Song Sparrow 42, Lincoln’s Sparrow 1, Swamp Sparrow 410, Dark-eyed Junco 1, White-throated Sparrow 19, White-crowned Sparrow 8, Summer Tanager 2, Western Tanager 1, Northern Cardinal 496, Indigo Bunting 1, Painted Bunting 15, Red-winged Blackbird 8294, Eastern Meadowlark 120, Rusty Blackbird 120, Common Grackle 1154, Boat-tailed Grackle 1515, Brown-headed Cowbird 1112, Baltimore Oriole 49.
By Andy Kratter, Florida Museum of Natural History