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23 December 2017

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All text, maps, charts & photos © Hilton Pond Center

Each winter, Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History organizes and compiles the York/Rock Hill, South Carolina Christmas Bird Count, under auspices of the National Audubon Society. This event usually occurs the Saturday before Christmas, so the 27th annual count--weather permitting--will be on 23 December 2017. The count was initiated in 1991 to help provide a more accurate census of the numbers and species of birds present in central York County during winter.

The count begins when participants (high school age and older) gather promptly at 6:15 a.m. on the designated day at the Burger King at the intersection of S.C. Highway 5 and Rawlinson Road just west of Rock Hill (across from Northwestern High School).

On the first 26 counts (1991-2016), sightings were made of 113,257 birds from 111 species, including rare Southern Bald Eagles, wintering Rufous Hummingbirds, and much more common Belted Kingfishers (above right). Of all species recorded, 24 have been seen on every count.

All text, maps, charts & photos © Hilton Pond Center

According to count founder Dr. Bill Hilton Jr., the Center's executive director, "Our best year for species was 80 in 2000, and we had a record high of 12,945 individuals in 1994 when large flocks of Cedar Waxwings and American Robins swelled our numbers. We added a new species in 2014 when a Baltimore Oriole was spotted at Cherry Park in Rock Hill. In 2012, 720 individual Bonaparte's Gulls (above) set a new local high for this species." (Results of our counts from 2000 onward are linked from the list at the end of this page.)

Beginning before sunrise and finishing at dusk, participants identify and tally birds seen and/or heard in an area inscribed by a circle 15 miles in diameter and centered where Tools Fork Creek flows beneath SC Hwy 5 (West Main Street) just west of Northwestern High School (center coordinates are 34° 57' 23.57" N, 81º 06' 24.64" W; in decimal degress that's N34.956547, W81.106844; see map below). Participants are assigned a section of the circle and are expected to spend the day covering the area by car and on foot--perhaps even by canoe or bicycle!

The circle comprises all of Rock Hill and the Winthrop College Farm, the eastern third of York (including Hilton Pond Center), the southern end of Lake Wylie and Tega Cay, and the Catawba River from the dam to the I-77 bridge;it extends from Ogden in the south almost to the pinnacle of Nanny's (Ferguson's) Mountain to the north. This circle's amazingly diverse habitats--including river bottomland, pine woods, thickets, hardwood stands, open fields, a large lake, and urbanized areas--provide a variety of bird life and an enjoyable day in the field.

Homebound persons living within the count circle may choose to conduct a "feeder watch" and count birds (such as chickadees, sparrows, finches, and Mourning Doves, above left) that come to their backyards during the count day. Feeder watchers should transmit their tallies to research@hiltonpond.org by 8 p.m. on the day of the count; owls and other nocturnal species can be counted through 11:59 p.m. on count day.

Participants reassemble for lunch near noon and again at about 5:30 p.m. A $5 participation fee is no longer required by Audubon, but donations in support of Hilton Pond Center are always welcome.

Please note the count circle includes campuses of three area high schools (Northwestern, Rock Hill & South Pointe), York Technical College, and Winthrop University. Students and faculty in biology and other disciplines at these institutions are especially welcome to participate in our annual bird survey.

Persons interested in participating should contact compiler Dr. Bill Hilton Jr. via research@hiltonpond.org no later than 22 December 2016.

Happy Birding!

All text, maps, charts & photos © Hilton Pond Center

Map of the York/Rock Hill Christmas Bird Count Circle (above)

Back to 2016 York/Rock Hill CBC Results

Back to 2015 York/Rock Hill CBC Results

Back to 2014 York/Rock Hill CBC Results

Back to 2013 York/Rock Hill CBC Results

Back to 2012 York/Rock Hill CBC Results

Back to 2011 York/Rock Hill CBC Results

Back to 2010 York/Rock Hill CBC Results

Back to 2009 York/Rock Hill CBC Results

Back to 2008 York/Rock Hill CBC Results

Back to 2007 York/Rock Hill CBC Results

Back to 2006 York/Rock Hill CBC Results

Back to 2005 York/Rock Hill CBC Results

Back to 2004 York/Rock Hill CBC Results

Back to 2003 York/Rock Hill CBC Results

Back to 2002 York/Rock Hill CBC Results

Back to 2001 York/Rock Hill CBC Results

Back to 2000 York/Rock Hill CBC Results

Back to Bird Research Page

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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.

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