Re: Creole CBC Summary

Steven W. Cardiff

Erik et al.-
Yes, thanks for the report and for organizing and participating in the
count. To me, the drop in shrike numbers is particularly disturbing. As
the species continues to disappear inland, the coastal zone had become
somewhat of a refugium for shrikes. Hopefully, they will come back
stronger than ever in that area.

Steve Cardiff

On Tue, Jan 12, 2021 at 8:21 PM Jay V Huner <>

For what it's worth, Huner and Musumeche published a paper in LOS journal
about differences between bird populations before Hurricane Rita and
following the hurricane for the Palmetto Island area. That devastation was
certainly greater than that from the 2020 hurricanes. The LOS journal is
available to anyone who accesses the LOS website.

Regards, Jay Huner
From: <> on behalf of Toddy Guidry via <>
Sent: Tuesday, January 12, 2021 12:58 PM
To: 'David Muth' <>; <>; 'LABIRD NEW' <>
Subject: Re: [labird] Creole CBC Summary

David et al - I'm working on the Palmetto Island summary (Vermilion
but we saw similar, although not as severe, conditions to the east down in
the Intracoastal City area of the count.
More when I send out the final numbers.
The surge in Intracoastal City can be seen on fences etc, about 4-5 feet of
water on the roads.

Our species count will be misleadingly high due to the terrain variation of
the circle, but quantities way down as well.

-----Original Message-----
From: <> On Behalf Of David Muth
Sent: Tuesday, January 12, 2021 3:01 PM
Subject: Re: [labird] Creole CBC Summary


Thanks for organizing the count and making sure it got done. It was truly
sad to see the impact on the human and natural environment.

There was a similar near absence of resident land and marsh birds after
for the Sabine Count and after Katrina for the Venice Count (and in New
Orleans for that matter). It took many years for resident landbirds like
woodpeckers, cardinals and chickadees to slowly recolonize the lower
Mississippi River peninsula back down to the Venice area. One species,
Sparrow, is still not back.

While the condition of vegetation was horrifying, I actually think that
habitat at Creole this year looked a little better than did the habitat in
Cameron in Dec. of 2005 after Rita. Maybe that is a function of the timing
of the storms or the amount of rainfall that fell since the storms--Katrina
and Rita were unfortunately followed by drought.

One thing I vividly recall is that in 2006, the next year, we found a huge
number of sparrows during the Sabine Count, presumably responding to the
explosion of un-grazed grasses and weeds--cows weren't brought back until
fences were repaired and people had somewhere to live. One of the most
common hazards down there in Creole now are miles of barbed wire fences and
posts, ripped out and tangled everywhere.

David Muth
New Orleans

-----Original Message-----
From: <> On Behalf Of Johnson, Erik via
Sent: Tuesday, January 12, 2021 12:55 PM
Subject: [labird] Creole CBC Summary


On 3 January 2021, 17 observers in 6 parties participated in the 36th
CBC. This was obviously ground zero for both Hurricanes Laura and Delta,
the devastation to property and habitat is massive. There was very little
green, most homes and camps were either battered to smithereens or gone,
although a few homes and camps were in the process of rebuilding. The
habitat will eventually recover, but it will take a while - much of the
early succession shrub-scrub was scoured, wetlands had a lot of wrack and
debris, and cheniers lots large limbs and trees.

Because of similar effort compared to recent years, especially the previous
7 years, the comparison of bird numbers I feel is quite reflective of the
acute impacts to local bird populations as well as the ongoing impacts from
the loss of habitat quality and quantity. Resident landbird numbers were
down. This was the first year ever that Blue Jay was missed (24-53 counted
in previous 7 years), and there were zero Eurasian Collared-Doves (5-80
previously), zero Inca Doves (7-43 previously), zero Red-bellied
(2-16 previously), zero Hairy Woodpeckers (2-6 previously), and zero
Carolina Wrens (1-7 previously). Participants also found only 1
Dove (18-186 previously), 10 Mourning Doves (17-215 previously), 1 Downy
Woodpecker (5-20 previously), 2 Loggerhead Shrikes (57-117 previously), 152
European Starlings (286-955 previously), 15 Northern Mockingbirds (57-106
previously), 3 Brown-headed Cowbirds (81-613 previously), 1 Common Grackle
(20-827 previously), and 7 Northern Cardinals (28-106 previously).
Similarly, only 4 Common Gallinules were found (259-757 previously).

Migratory landbird numbers were also down, but generally not completely
absent. Interestingly, there were good numbers of Tree Swallows, American
Robins (the most in last 8 years), and Yellow-rumped Warblers (also the
in last 8 years). Waterbird numbers were above average, and shorebird and
duck numbers were among the highest they've been in many years, presumably
from mudflats and shallow water that were created as vegetation was scoured
away. Compared to the previous 7 years, Green-winged Teal, Double-crested
Cormorant, American White Pelican, Great Egret, American Avocet, Killdeer,
Least Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, and Lesser Yellowlegs counts were
highest this year.

The species total was a mere 120, far short of last year's record of 151.
This is a count that consistently has turned up >135 species each year. The
only bold-faced rarities that were found included Least Bittern and
Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Surely it will take time for the region to recover,
much like what we saw after Rita and Ike (and Katrina, etc.). I'm hoping
Creole CBC will serve as a useful index for documenting these changes going

A huge thank you to the participants who braved the emotional and physical
elements to make this count happen: Amanda Anderson, Katie Barnes, David
Booth, Keith Brink, Charlotte Chehotsky, Ken Eyster, Paul Fontenot, Dale
Hamilton, Kevin Leigh, Becky Lloyd, Mike Musumeche, David Muth, John
John Parker, Natalie Poole, and Melvin Weber.

Erik Johnson
Sunset, LA
Erik.Johnson AT

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