Birders New and Old Gather for the Annual Central Park Christmas Bird Count
Counters had seen two common redpolls in the northwest sector and four white-winged crossbills on the Ramble—both rare sights in the park. When two teams reported a great blue heron, after some discussion it was decided that it had probably been the same bird, so it was counted only once in the official tally.
In the end, the Central Park counters saw a total of 5,721 birds from 56 species. After the compilation, I met Sarah McCarn Elliot, a birder with bright red hair who was in charge of the Central Park CBC for 20 years and has participated in the count since the 1970s. I asked her about her favorite bird she’d seen that day. “They’re all a pleasure to see,” she said, adding that she was particularly happy that three brown creepers had been tallied. They’re rarely seen elsewhere around the region, she said, but they have been recorded in Central Park since early days of the count. “I’m glad they like our park.”
If I make it to the CBC next year, I’ll be sure to try to spot Sarah McCarn Elliot, David Krauss, and the other loyal CBC birders in their accustomed park regions, listening for brown creepers, counting seagulls, and keeping their eyes out for the year’s rare find.
A white-winged crossbill in Central Park this earlier this fall. (Photo by David Krauss)