By Terri Gorney
On January 1 Limberlost hosted the SANJO CBC. SANJO stands for Southern Adams, Northern Jay, and Ouabache. Randy Lehman came up with this name to represent the area that the circle covers. This circle was created for the National Audubon Society. It came out of the old Adams County CBC that had a 40 year history. Limberlost hosted this event for the 5th year.
It had to be the coldest on record for this area with temperatures -4 to -9 degrees in the morning. That did not deter a record number of 27 field, feeder and property counters from helping. We had participants from Mississinewa Audubon Society, Robert Cooper Audubon Society and Stockbridge Audubon Society and local residents. A total of 48 species were record, 2171 individuals.
This was the 118th Christmas Bird Count by the National Audubon Society. This count relies on volunteers. It is an early winter bird census. This count gives an idea of bird populations and how they have changed over the years. Some species have prospered and others have not. In our area, habitat restoration and creation of the Limberlost Territories and Ouabache State Park have helped the birds to thrive. We now have a year round population of bald eagles and northern harriers and short-eared owls as regular winter residents.
Some of the best birds were the bald eagles, short-eared owls, rough-legged hawks, northern harriers, greater white-fronted geese, snow buntings, Lapland longspurs, Carolina wrens, brown creepers, yellow-bellied sapsucker, redheaded woodpeckers and pileated woodpeckers. We had a record numbers of horned larks, Lapland longspurs, snow buntings, and American tree sparrows this year.
We met at the Limberlost Visitor Center for a chili carry-in lunch. We had a feast along with great conversation. It is a great way to start the new year.
A big thank you to all that participated in this event. In my opinion, it is the volunteers that make this count special. A few of our volunteer had "lifers" - birds they had not seen before. There is always room for more counters for January 1 2019. You do not have to be an expert birder to help with this count. Larry Parker was the compiler before me. Larry has a long history of birding in Adams County and helping with bird counts. He still helps with the counts.
The Indiana Audubon Society's May Count will be held May 12. This count will be for Adams County. Anyone interested in helping with this count are welcome. We can always use feeder counters, field counters or people who want to count birds on their farms or properties.