This is a Pomarine Jaeger and was one of the most "unusual species" reported by the Matagorda County birders during the Christmas Bird Count.
It’s official! During 122nd annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count held Dec. 20, 2021 in Matagorda County, 230 species of birds were spotted by 90 birding volunteers in 14 sections of the county that they surveyed.
The tally may make Matagorda County - once again - the Number One spot in North America with the most species of birds counted. Matagorda County is one of the continent’s best areas to find a record number of different species of birds because of its unique habitat diversity that naturally attracts the many species of birds, according to the Audubon Society birder volunteers who conduct the bird count each year.
Between December 14 and January 5, tens of thousands of bird-loving volunteers participate each year in counts across the Western Hemisphere, according to Audubon.org. The twelve decades’ worth of data collected by participants continue to contribute to one of only two large existing pools of information notifying ornithologists and conservation biologists about what conservation action is required to protect birds and the places they need.
Each individual count takes place in a 15-mile-wide circle and is led by a compiler responsible for safely organizing volunteers and submitting observations directly to Audubon. Within each circle, participants tally all birds seen or heard that day—not just the species but total numbers to provide a clear idea of the health of that particular population.
The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is the longest-running community science project in the country. The census provides important information for scientists and conservationists worldwide.
The Jan. 7, 2022 podcast from NPR’s Science Friday (npr.org/podcasts) includes an interview with Audubon Society’s bird count director Geoff LeBaron and director of quantitative science Nicole Michel. They talk about the value of the annual community bird count project – which is the longest-running community science project in the country – and some of the more joyful bird sightings from around the country.