If you are a bird lover, you will be thrilled by the variety of birds flying in, through, and past the city of Austin. In fact, two teams of birders recently took a census of birds in Mower County and they discovered that the area has quite a number of species to offer to bird enthusiasts.
During the census, which took place on May 10 between the hours of 5:00 am and 7:00 pm, the teams managed tally up 109 different species of birds. The birds were observed in a variety of areas, as the team spanned an area that included the western marshes of Mower County all the way to Lake Louise State Park.
Over the past 14 years, the average number of species observed in this same area came to 113. Ever since 1993, a local chapter of the National Audubon Society has been counting species of birds in Mower County in observance of what is known as International Migratory Bird Day. This nationwide event also involves numerous other chapters of the National Audubon Society throughout the country.
In Austin, the National day is used in part to help collect data about migratory bird species in the area, but it is also used as a fund raiser. The money raised during the event goes toward paying for scholarships as well as special projects.
While it may be a little disappointing that this year’s count was lower than the average, experts feel the decrease in numbers was mostly because of the amount of wind on the day of the census count combined with a general decrease in the insect population this season. Still, a couple species that are not usually seen during this time of the year, including a common loon and a white pelican, were both spotted on East Side Lake this year.