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The Trailhead is located in Lake County, Florida. map

For more information, please contact info@scrubjaytrail.org
(352) 429-5566

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of wildlife or plants seen
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Results of the 12th Annual
Clermont Christmas Bird Count

JANUARY 1, 2024   -    ALL DAY EVENT


The Results from the
12th Annual Clermont Christmas Bird Count

The Clermont Christmas Bird Count was held on Monday, January 1, 2024. It was the twelfth annual count hosted at The Florida Scrub-Jay Trail.

The 15-mile diameter count circle is centered on the north shore of Lake Minnehaha and extends outward 7.5 miles in every direction from that point. The circle is split into ten zones, and this year 50 birders were divided among the zones to count and identify as many birds as possible. They were very successful.

Click on the above map to see a larger version.


A total of 120 species, plus six other taxa were recorded.
An impressive 11,507 individual birds were counted. There were no Count Week species. In total over the twelve years, 179 species have been found on a Clermont CBC.

No new species were recorded this year. However, we had several count highlights:
- Northern Pintail (2 - Zones 2 and 6, the third CBC appearance and a high count tie)
- Redhead (1 - Zone 2, the second CBC appearance and a high count tie)
- Bufflehead (1 - Zone 3, the third CBC appearance, first appearance in seven years)
- Snail Kite (1 - Zone 7, the third CBC appearance and a high count tie, first appearance in five years)
- Laughing Gull (2 - Zone 3, the second CBC appearance and a new high Laughing Gull (2 - Zone 3, the second CBC appearance and a new high count)
- Vermillion Flycatcher (1 - Zone 2, the third CBC appearance and a high count tie)
- Great Crested Flycatcher (1 - Zone 7, the second CBC appearance and a high count tie, first appearance since the very first Clermont CBC 12 years ago)
- American Redstart (1 - Zone 2, the fifth CBC appearance and a high count tie)
- White-throated Sparrow (4 - Zones 3 and 4, the third CBC appearance, first appearance in nine years)

A few species achieved new high counts this year:
- Fish Crow (883)
- Tree Swallow (3589)
- Black-and-White Warbler (27)
- House Finch (27)

Two annual species were unrecorded for the very first time:
- Wild Turkey
- Florida Scrub-Jay (not gonna lie, this one hurts)

Several annual species had their lowest numbers ever recorded on a Clermont CBC:
- Hooded Merganser (4)
- Great Egret (36)
- Tricolored Heron (7)
- American Coot (2)
- Sandhill Crane (307)
- Killdeer (83)
- Forster's Tern (8)
- Belted Kingfisher (6)
- Eastern Phoebe (101)
- White-eyed Vireo (7)
- Brown Thrasher (3)
- Palm Warbler (493)
- Chipping Sparrow (107)
- American Goldfinch (17)

John Thomton

Audubon Christmas Bird Count
The nation's longest-running community science bird project
fuels Audubon's work throughout the year.

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A Note from the Florida Scrub-jay Trail

What a perfect accounting of what was captured during our 9th Annual Clermont Christmas Bird Count. Thank you so much for all the details. Without John Thomton and all the participants we would not have such a count to contribute to Audubon!

Thank you so much again for our dinner sponsors: Carrabbaís of Clermont who have supported us for many years. Your wonderful dinner wraps up our count for the day and makes everything so warm and comfortable. What a wonderful ending to a long day!

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History of the Christmas Bird Count

Prior to the turn of the 20th century, hunters engaged in a holiday tradition known as the Christmas "Side Hunt." They would choose sides and go afield with their guns—whoever brought in the biggest pile of feathered (and furred) quarry won.

Conservation was in its beginning stages in that era, and many observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. Beginning on Christmas Day 1900, ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, an early officer in the then-nascent Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition—a "Christmas Bird Census" that would count birds during the holidays rather than hunt them.

So began the Christmas Bird Count. Thanks to the inspiration of Chapman and the enthusiasm of 27 dedicated birders, 25 Christmas Bird Counts were held that day. The locations ranged from Toronto, Ontario, to Pacific Grove, California, with most counts in or near the population centers of northeastern North America. Those original 27 Christmas Bird Counters tallied around 90 species on all the counts combined.

Today, From December 14 through January 5 each year, tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas brave snow, wind, or rain, and take part in the effort. Audubon and other organizations use data collected in this long-running wildlife census to assess the health of birdpopulations, and to help guide conservation action.

The Florida Scrub-Jay Trail

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