by Gene Rekin
The 47th Libby Christmas bird count took place December 17 with 10 field observers and 4 feeder watchers. The day was partly cloudy to clear with a low in the morning of -9 degrees and an afternoon high of +6, a trying day for man and feathered friends alike. Thankfully there was no wind to speak of. 42 species and 1321 birds total were recorded. Libby Dam discharge has been at full capacity for some time now attempting to spill record fall rains and many of our normal river birds including dabbling ducks were not seen. Given the weather, our Kootenai River floaters had the good sense to abort which also contributed to our low river count. We did have one very unusual sighting however, a first for the Libby count, a Northern Shoveler. We also observed 2 Varied Thrushes and they have been seen down the road in Troy as well, unusual for us but not a first. Bald Eagles were once again abundant with 75 counted, 62 adults and 13 juveniles.