USC Citizens for Land Stewardship
Conservation and stewardship of land and natural resources in Upper St. Clair

Christmas Bird Count Results

Boyce/Mayview Park

Count Dates: December 26, 1998 and December 26, 1999

Species Number
1998 1999
Great Blue Heron 5 5
Canada Goose 0 2
Wood Duck 0 1
Mallard 30 88
Cooper's Hawk 1 0
Red-tailed Hawk 2 10
American Kestrel 1 1
Wild Turkey 22 0
Mourning Dove 18 48
Eastern Screech Owl 0 1
Great Horned Owl 0 1
Belted Kingfisher 2 0
Red-bellied Woodpecker 12 20
Downy Woodpecker 27 23
Hairy Woodpecker 4 2
Northern Flicker 1 2
Pileated Woodpecker 1 2
Eastern Phoebe 1 0
Blue Jay 2 42
American Crow 59 82
Chickadee (Black-capped and Carolina) 136 157
Tufted Titmouse 31 32
White-breasted Nuthatch 15 19
Brown Creeper 1 1

Species Number
1998 1999
Carolina Wren 19 19
Winter Wren 0 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 12 0
Eastern Bluebird 0 7
American Robin 77 532
Northern Mockingbird 1 3
Cedar Waxwing 0 20
European Starling 0 3247
Northern Cardinal 89 132
American Tree Sparrow 13 13
Chipping Sparrow 4 0
Fox Sparrow 0 1
Song Sparrow 33 30
White-throated Sparrow 5 8
White-crowned Sparrow 1 1
Dark-eyed Junko 57 100
Red-winged Blackbird 0 75
Brown-headed Cowbird 0 204
Purple Finch 8 0
House Finch 54 100
Common Redpoll * 3 0
American Goldfinch 4 52
House Sparrow 5 24

* unusual species

1998 1999
Species counted 36 40
Total birds counted 756 5107

1999 CLS Christmas Bird Count

On December 26, 1999, 40 hearty individuals met and then dispersed to five assigned areas of Boyce/Mayview park in order to count and record the winter bird species present that day.  The weather was windy, very gray and overcast with temperatures in the mid to high 20's, and a 14 degree wind-chill factor.  Participants were all skill levels regarding bird recognition.  It was a great opportunity for those of us learning the habitats and identity of birds.  Watch for future information regarding bird counts in the year 2000.  We continue our preparation to initiate an Audubon bird circle in the Pittsburgh south hills.

First Annual CLS Christmas Bird Count: A Success

It was a bitterly cold December 26, 1998 morning when the first annual CLS Christmas Bird Count took place in Boyce/Mayview Park and PennDot wetlands. Under the tutelage of local expert Bill Judd, 29 hearty volunteers took to the trails to count the birds in this daylong census. The clear, sunny sky finally pushed the sub 20s temperatures into the low 30s by afternoon.

As this was the first wintertime count of bird populations in this multi-habitat natural area, there was no recorded base line data. This count will form the basis for future comparisons, the first step in an ongoing monitoring process. Along with the expected species, counted at Boyce/Mayview, were several less regular species of special note. An American kestrel (a small falcon), a Pileated Woodpecker, a Brown Creeper, an Eastern Phoebe, a Northern Mockingbird, 2 Belted Kingfishers, and several Purple Finch, were spotted, as were 3 Common Redpoll (a not-so-common boreal visitor). In a year of unusual weather fluctuations, the presence of warm weather species as well as irregular northern migrants was anticipated. The Chickadee , Northern cardinal, American robin, American crow, Dark-eyed junco, and House finch, all winter regulars, were the most numerous of the day. For a complete list of all bird species counted, see the table.

Thirty-six (36) species were counted. This is a significant number of species for a relatively small area (Boyce/Mayview Park and wetland). The unofficial total for the Pittsburgh area Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count Circle (a fifteen-mile diameter circle) is 62 species.

This first Christmas Bird Count, with experienced and novice counters sharing the desire to join in and find out what is flying in our parkland, was a great success. It substantiated birding specialists’ designation of this park as a “significant birding area of Allegheny County.” In addition, the participation and interest in the event will help the CLS’s work to establish a National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count Circle in the South Hills. And, what will we find next year? The comparisons will tell much about the natural world of the birds we enjoy so much.