22-28 December 2000

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All photos © Hilton Pond Center
Male Northern Cardinal eating berries of Dogwood (Cornus florida)

10th Annual York/Rock Hill
Christmas Bird Count (2000)

The York/Rock Hill (S.C.) Christmas Bird Count--which includes the waters and woods of Hilton Pond Center--was a focal point for the last full week of the year. Christmas Counts are conducted across the nation under the auspices of the National Audubon Society in an attempt to census winter birds. Although factors such as the number of observers or time spent in the field may vary from year to year, some counts have been conducted so many times that they are reliable indicators of trends in bird populations.

Eight intrepid birders started the 2000 York/Rock Hill Count at 6:30 am on 23 December, combing the myriad habitats that fall within a circle 15 miles in diameter and centered where Tools Fork Creek flows under SC Hwy. 5. (Click here for a complete description of the Count circle.) In all, we tallied 8,812 individual birds, greater than the 10-year average of 7,787. The number is species was even more impressive, with 80 species tallied--breaking the old record of 72 set in 1994 and far exceeding the 10-year average of 64. In addition, totals for 26 species either tied or set a new record for individuals seen.

Four new species were spotted for the Count, and three of them were ducks: Canvasback, Green-winged Teal, and Greater Scaup; the other new species was Vesper Sparrow.

Listed below are the 123 species that might reasonably be expected in the count circle; 102 of these have been recorded at least once since the count began in 1991. Also listed are the numbers for each species seen on the 2000 Count.

Participants in the 2000 York/Rock Hill Christmas Bird Count were: David Callopy, Bill Hilton Jr. (compiler), Susan Holland, Faye Metzl, Bob Olson, Jewel Reavis, Joshua Stuart Rose, and Carolyn Russett.

23 December 2000

(blue shows new species)

(blue shows new or tied record)
Blackbird, Brewer's .
Blackbird, Red-winged .
Blackbird, Rusty .

Blackbird sp.

Bluebird, Eastern 80
Bobwhite, Northern .
Bufflehead 11
Bunting, Snow .

Buteo sp.

Canvasback 8
Cardinal, Northern 97
Catbird, Gray .
Chickadee, Carolina 43
Coot, American 79
Cormorant, Double-crested 7
Cowbird, Brown-headed 2
Creeper, Brown .
Crow, American 138
Crow, Fish 10
Dove, Mourning 91
Dove, Rock 17
Duck, American Black 4
Duck, Ring-necked 7
Duck, Ruddy 19
Duck, Wood 10
Eagle, S. Bald .
Egret, Great .
Falcon, Peregrine .
Finch, House 17
Finch, Purple .
Flicker, Northern 4
Gadwall 1
Gnatcatcher, Blue Gray .
Goldeneye, Common .
Goldfinch, American 13
Goose, Canada 139
Goose, Snow .
Grackle, Common 3,901
Grebe, Horned 1
Grebe, Pied-billed 23
Grosbeak, Evening .
Gull, Bonaparte's 39
Gull, Herring 3
Gull, Laughing .
Gull, Ring-billed 1,253
Harrier, Northern 3
Hawk, Cooper's 1
Hawk, Red-shouldered 5
Hawk, Red-tailed 22
Hawk, Sharp-shinned 2
Heron, Great Blue 20
Heron, Green .
Hummingbird, Rufous .
Jay, Blue 26
Junco, Dark-eyed 78
Kestrel, American 4
Killdeer 49
Kingfisher, Belted 6
Kinglet, Golden-crowned 9
Kinglet, Ruby-crowned 28
Lark, Prairie Horned .
Loon, Common 4
Mallard 141
Meadowlark, Eastern 114
Merganser, Common .
Merganser, Hooded 38
Merganser, Red-breasted .
Merlin .
Mockingbird, Northern 47
Nuthatch, Brown-headed 2
Nuthatch, Red-breasted .
Nuthatch, White-breasted 1
Oriole, Northern .
Osprey .
Owl, Barred .
Owl, E. Screech .
Owl, Great Horned 1
Owl, Northern Saw-whet .
Phoebe, Eastern 10
Pintail, Northern .
Pipit, Water 403
Redhead Seen Count Week
Robin, American 111
Sapsucker, Yellow-bellied 8
Scaup, Greater 4
Scaup, Lesser 70
Shoveler, Northern .
Shrike, Loggerhead 2
Siskin, Pine .
Snipe, Common 1

Sparrow sp.

Sparrow, Chipping 34
Sparrow, Field 15
Sparrow, Fox .
Sparrow, House 13
Sparrow, Lincoln's .
Sparrow, Savannah 27
Sparrow, Song 38
Sparrow, Swamp 15
Sparrow, Vesper 1
Sparrow, White-crowned .
Sparrow, White-throated 80
Starling, European 1,113
Teal, Green-winged 4
Teal, Blue-winged .
Thrasher, Brown 8
Thrush, Hermit 7
Titmouse, Tufted 28
Towhee, Eastern 41
Turkey, Wild .
Vulture, Black 17
Vulture, Turkey 34
Vireo, Blue-headed (Solitary) .
Warbler, Palm (Yellow) .
Warbler, Pine 2
Warbler, Yellow-rumped 44
Waxwing, Cedar 10
Wigeon, American .
Woodcock, American .
Woodpecker, Downy 6
Woodpecker, Hairy .
Woodpecker, Pileated .
Woodpecker, Red-bellied 21
Woodpecker, Red-headed 1
Wren, Carolina 25
Wren, Winter 1
Yellowthroat, Common .
(Emu) .






The following species were banded this week:

American Goldfinch--6
Chipping Sparrow--1
House Finch--10

This Week at Hilton Pond
is part of the

3 species
17 individuals

80 species
2,115 individuals
GRAND TOTAL (since June 1982)
122 species
38,265 individuals


House Finch


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Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History is a non-profit research & education organization in York, South Carolina USA; phone (803) 684-5852. Directed by Bill Hilton Jr., aka The Piedmont Naturalist, it is the parent organization for Operation RubyThroat. Contents of this Web site--including articles and photos--may NOT be duplicated, modified, or used in any way except with the express written permission of Hilton Pond Center. All rights reserved worldwide. To obtain permission for use or for further assistance on accessing this Web site, contact the Webmaster.