DOVER-FOXCROFT — The bird population in Dover-Foxcroft appears to be down this winter, according to members of the Penquis Audubon Society.
The annual Christmas bird census recorded the lowest number of individual birds since the count began in 1984 in Dover-Foxcroft.
The count, sponsored by the Penquis Audubon Society, fielded 11 observers plus observers at feeders. Beginning at 5 a.m. and ending at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, the count turned up only 1,604 birds, compared to a high of 4,070 in 1987.
The number of different species was 32, the lowest number since the first count, when only 29 species were noted. Some of the counters believed that global warming may have affected migration patterns; others believed that worldwide loss of habitat is affecting the birds in Dover-Foxcroft. Since 1987, the number of birds has declined steadily.
There were three cardinals reported and one species newly identified in the area, an Iceland gull. Other species identified included one common loon, 12 mallards, two common goldeneyes, two common mergansers, one ruffed grouse, 10 herring gulls, 224 rock doves, 75 mourning doves, 12 downy woodpeckers, 11 hairy woodpeckers, three pileated woodpeckers, one gray jay, 171 blue jays, 205 American crows, 30 common ravens, 285 black-capped chickadees, two boreal chickadees, 15 red-breasted nuthatches, six white-breasted nuthatches, six golden-crowned kinglets, five cedar waxwings, 254 European starlings, 20 American tree sparrows, seven dark-eyed juncos, one common grackle, eight purple finches, five common redpoll, 63 American goldfinches, 116 evening grosbeaks and 47 house sparrows.
Those counting in the field for the day were Tom Creeley, Charles and Mary Dorchester, Jack and Ruth Dunstan, Martin and Ruth French, Barbara Piel, Jay Pinchbeck, and Chuck and Sarah Wendel.
Those watching feeder stations were Virginia Bradford, Ronald and Arlene Dean, Barbara Goodwin, Dorothy Greenlaw, Mrs. Kenneth Herring, Betty Jordan, Mr. and Mrs. S. John Mitchell, and Dr. Paul Taylor.