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Portland Area Birders Discover Surprises During Christmas Bird Count

By Noelle Crombie
Oregonian

Saturday was the Audubon Society of Portland's bird census, a way to take stock of the region's birds, their health and habitat.

One bird stood out among the flock of Townsend's Warblers nibbling on the grass at Chimney Park in North Portland: Longtime birder Tom McNamara noticed the bird's distinctive golden face, the signature marking of the Hermit Warbler.

Now, a Hermit Warbler isn't an especially rare bird. But it is unusual to find one out of season. And for a birder, that's like hitting the avian jackpot.

McNamara's sighting of the Hermit Warbler -- a hard-to-spot bird even on a good day -- earned the longtime birder the Eagle Eye Award at Saturday's annual Christmas Bird Count. The Hermit Warbler has made only one prior appearance in the 87-year history of the bird count. Saturday was the Audubon Society of Portland's bird census, a way to take stock of the region's birds, their health and habitat.

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