News Release

Eagle Nature Foundation, Ltd.

300 East Hickory Street, Apple River, IL 61001

Phone: 815-594-2306 Fax: 815-594-2305 Web Site:

e-mail: Tax Exempt No. 36-4015400

For Immediate Release December 22, 2017

Results of the 2017 Jo Daviess Christmas Bird Count

Apple River, IL) On Dec. 19th, 19 members of the Eagle Nature Foundation and the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation conducted the 54th Jo Daviess County National Audubon Society Christmas Count with six teams counting 3026 birds of 43 different species. The most common birds counted were 606 Starlings, 413 House Sparrows, 282 Canadian Geese, and 221 Crows. This count has been conducted every year since 1964 and Terrence Ingram has been the compiler for all of these years.

The weather was mild, but that does not account for the fact that many bird species, which have during the past few years been killed by our current farming practices, which are killing the birds either by starvation or poisoning. There were almost no birds seen near the commercial corn and soybean fields. Woodland areas away from these commercial farm fields continued to have some of the birds which these counts have recorded in the past.

Commercial farmers have removed their fence lines which used to have shrubs, trees and plants, which were used by many species of birds for food and shelter. Many birds migrate into these areas, but are killed by the poisons left on the plants from the summer sprays. So these new birds are seen for a short time, but soon disappear. In past years these birds could be seen in these areas almost all winter.

There is some concern that birds are also being killed from eating the contaminated food that is being fed to them in bird feeders. We know now that Roundup is being used as a desiccant on black sunflower plants before they are harvested, so glyphosate may still be on the seeds that are being fed to the birds. Feeder watchers have witnessed species such as Cardinals, Blue Jays, Doves, and sparrows gradually disappear from their feeders to be replaced by new ones.

Two thirds of the teams did not see a single Cardinal this year. Blue Jays were also very low in numbers as well as larks, juncos and Tree Sparrows. Eight species were only seen by one team out of six. Five species were only seen by two teams and five species were only seen by three teams. Only 13 species were seen by all six teams. The areas near the open farm fields had no birds, not a few, but none at all. The teams had to get away from the farm fields to find any birds. This is not the way it was 40 or 50 years ago, when this count was first conducted.

For many years Mr. Ingram would predict what kind of winter it would be, based on the birds that had been seen on this count. This year the open water allowed several different waterfowl to be counted, but very few summer birds such as Robins were seen. Hardly any winter birds such as Horned Larks or Snow Buntings were seen. Based on what was seen this year, Mr. Ingram predicts we will have an average winter.

For more information contact: Terrence N. Ingram, Exec. Director, Eagle Nature Foundation, 300 East Hickory St., Apple River, IL 61001 Phone 815-594-2306

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