Christmas Counts

NEW! 2020 Sightings from the Dallas Count. Final count was 120 for count day and 122 for count week

Dowitcher Sp., 12-19-20. Photo by Danny Sansone.

Also Unusual: Red-headed Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Iceland Gull, Little Gull, and Gray Catbird (fourth time) . Pine Siskin and Purple Finch in good numbers.

Dallas CBC 12-19-20.xlsx

Historical Dallas Christmas Count Information

Obvious Mistakes from Past Years

* Plain Titmouse (55) from 1967. Pulich shows no records of this Trans-Pecos bird before or after the species split. Clearly this was a bizarre misidentification or a mammoth clerical error. Now considered "Juniper Titmouse".

* Pygmy Nuthatch (1) from 1967. Pulich shows the only PYNU record from 1966 – a year earlier and which was a bird actually collected in Irving, Texas, on December 31, 1966 by Pulich himself (WMP 1537).

* Semipalmated Sandpiper 50 from 1957 and also 26 from 1975. Both observations of multiple birds would be unheard of during a Christmas Count. A December/January record is so rare in Texas that they are reviewable by the TBRC.

* Baird’s Sandpiper (25) from 1966. Individual records in North America in December are extraordinary.

* Pectoral Sandpiper (9) from 1957. Also unbelievable for the same reason as above. Although a very few PESAs have shown up in south Texas Christmas Counts recently, none have ever shown up in North-central Texas during December\January.

* Pyrrhuloxia (221) from 1974. A very rare bird anywhere in North-central Texas. A number of 221? Someone must have been counting this west Texas bird from the window of a local bar.

Curiosities and Possible Errors

* Sage Thrasher (7) from 1957 – No records from that year (Pulich)

* Baird’s Sparrow (4) from 1961 – No records from that year (Pulich)

* Golden-fronted Woodpecker –1978, 1984. Probably misidentified

* Dickcissel (1) from 1982 (possible, but no details)

Surprise Sightings

  • Red-throated Loon from 2017 - Details and photograph.

  • Rough-legged Hawk – several seen nearly every year from 1957-1978. More common before the county became so urban

  • Long-eared Owl from 2019 - details and photograph

  • Glaucous Gull from 2001 (cw) – details available

  • King Rail from 1962, 1964, 1969

  • Couch’s/Tropical Kingbird from 2005 – details and photograph

  • White-eyed Vireo from 2009 and 2019 - details available

  • Townsend’s Solitaire from 1973

  • Northern Parula Warbler from 2000 – details available

  • Nashville Warbler (2) from 1995 and 2010 – details available

  • Chestnut-sided Warbler - from 2012 - details available

  • Mourning Warbler (1) from 1991

  • Summer Tanager (1) from 2019 - details and photograph

  • Western Tanager (1) from 1996 – details available

  • Green-tailed Towhee (1) from 2015 - details and photograph. Seen by many over several days.

  • Blue Grosbeak from 1976 (I actually met the woman who had this bird at her feeder for a few weeks during that year.)

  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male) from 1999 and 2006 – details available for both years

High Numbers of Interesting Species

* Hairy Woodpecker – 22 from 1982

* Red-headed Woodpecker 14 from 1984

* Red-winged Blackbird – 613,841 from 1977 and 510,739 from 1978. (Since 1980, most individual blackbird numbers have not exceeded four figures.)

Top Ten Dallas Counts (CD=Count Day, CW=Count Week)

2020 = 120 CD and 122 CW

2004 = 119 CD and 125 CW

2006 = 117 CD and 123 CW

2013 = 117 CD and 120 CW

2009 = 117 CD and 117 CW

2012 = 116 CD and 117 CW

2011 = 116 CD and 117 CW

2010 = 116 CD and 117 CW

2005 = 115 CD and 118 CW

2019 = 115 CD and 116 CW

2002 = 112 CD and 115 CW

Dallas Count Factoids

In the 20th-century, the highest species total for a Dallas Christmas Bird Count was in 1982 with 108 species. Every year since 2002 has exceeded that mark even though participation is half of what it was during the peak years of participation.

The 1982 Count also had 105 participants. The peak window of time for Dallas Count participation was between 1975-1985.

The first two counts, the 1953 and 1955 counts, had only ONE participant. The 1957 Count had seven. All other counts had at least double digits.

The lowest recorded temperature for a Dallas CBC was 13 degrees in 1989. The highest recorded temperature was 77 degrees in 2006.

Several species that were regular during the early years of the count (1950s and 1960's) are no longer seen with any regularity: These birds include Northern Bobwhite, Rough-legged Hawk, King Rail, Red-headed Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Greater Roadrunner, and Lapland Longspur.

Birds occasionally being seen now that were not seen in the 20th-century are Neotropic Cormorant, White Ibis, Mottled Duck, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Franklin's Gull, White-winged Dove, and Sedge Wren.

Sparrow and duck numbers are trending downward, but species diversity among gulls and some passerine groups are higher.

The count circle has remained constant since it began in 1954. The map has been added as a PDF file attachment at the bottom of this page.

If you wish to look up historical count data by count circle, the Dallas code is TXDA. Historical Count Data

Unusual Photos from Past Counts

Unusual Photo Sightings from Past Christmas Counts

Common Nighthawk from 2006 Count

California Gull from 2006 Count

Broad-billed Hummingbird from 2014 Count

Selasphorus Hummingbird from 2007 and 2008 counts

Tropical\Couch's Kingbird from 2005 Count