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Christmas birds came out for the holidays, too

This is the Northwest Minnesota Birding Report for Sunday, Jan. 4, sponsored by the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce. You may also hear this report by calling (218) 847-5743 or 1-800-433-1888.

This has been a busy week what with all the holidays, and Christmas Bird Counts. Mother nature has asserted that it is indeed winter, carpeting the whole area with a deep blanket of snow. If anyone is planning a winter birding trip to northwestern Minnesota, be aware that all minimum maintenance roads are now impassible until spring.

Even if a road appears to be open or traveled at one end, there is no guarantee that it isn't drifted shut in the middle. Even some county roads are full of snow as I write this, due to the recent snowfall and wind. These facts have not stopped the Christmas bird counts as many intrepid birders have been out counting this weekend.

Common redpolls have been reported in Otter Tail County by Brad and Dee Ehlers and Teresa Jaskiewicz. Numbers at the feeders have been increasing. Teresa also reported pine siskins and American goldfinch. Tom Smith observed a northern shrike at their feeder on Dec. 26.

Dave and Betty Hochhalter had a pair of northern cardinals visiting their yard in Detroit Lakes , Becker County on Dec. 26.

Ted Dick reported a great gray owl seen on Dec. 27 at the northern Beltrami line on MN 72.

The Baudette CBC in Lake of the Woods County was held on Jan. 1. Counters observed 30 species including 2 northern goshawks, three great gray owls, nine northern hawk owls, one great horned owl, and four black-backed woodpeckers. Other species seen included 10 sharp-tailed grouse, 6 ruffed grouse, 2 northern shrikes, 100 Bohemian waxwings,  nearly 1200 snow buntings, 17 white-winged crossbills, 33 pine grosbeaks, 2 evening grosbeaks, and 111 common redpolls.

On Jan. 2, the Beltrami Island CBC, Lake of the Woods County, was held, and 10 observers tallied 26 species on a very cold but still day. Highlights included a golden eagle in count week, one great gray owl, one northern hawk owl, one northern saw-whet owl, one American three-toed woodpecker, one black-backed woodpecker, 7 boreal chickadees, a brown creeper, 26 gray jays, 29 pine grosbeaks, 18 red crossbills, 66 white-winged crossbills and 3 hoary redpolls.

The Roseau CBC was held Jan. 3 under less than ideal conditions: wind, heavy snow, and unplowed roads. I do not have the final tally, but there were several interesting sightings. At least 16 sharp-tailed grouse, and a flock of 140 American crows were seen. Also a northern hawk owl was seen along MN 310 between mile markers 8 and 9, and a surprising short-eared owl was seen hunting along MN 11 east of Roseau near the railroad crossing. A great gray owl was found along a snowmobile trail near the Canadian border.

Larry Wilebski reported an American robin and several cedar waxwings on Dec. 28 and a pileated woodpecker on Jan. 3. Lance Crandall at Lake Bronson State Park reported that the feeders at the park were busy with a hairy woodpecker, black-capped chickadees and white-breasted nuthatches.

Please report bird sightings to Jeanie Joppru by e-mail no later than Thursday each week at ajjoppru@q.com or call the Detroit Lakes Chamber's toll free number 1-800-542-3992. Detroit Lakes area birders please call 847-9202. Please include the county where the sighting took place.

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