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Christmas was over, but the Christmas Bird Count was not.

On New Year’s Eve, anything with feathers and a pulse was counted by about 200 birders from dawn until almost dusk. The epicenter was downtown Seattle, with the count radiating out 15 miles. Results go to the National Audubon Society to build a census. Of almost 10,000 bird species worldwide, about 130 species were seen here during counts in each of the past three years. Experienced birders often initially identify a species by its sound. But for the count it has to be eyeballed. It’s important, Russ Steele, with Seattle Audubon, said of the annual count. “It does tell us things over time. It gives a good snapshot, a view of patterns over time of decreasing species or increasing species.” And there will always be surprises. Anna’s hummingbirds winter in the area; we previously did not have them. Humans have created habitat and provided feeders, and our winters aren’t that severe. Next to the construction area of the new Highway 520 bridge, birds still gather despite the high-decibel sounds from the work. They have protection and a food source, and their instinctive survival needs are met. Cormorants gather on a light standard high above the Husky Ballpark next to the Union Bay Natural Area. Why? Steele says, “Who knows?” Maybe they like the view. The tally will be available later in January.