Over 75 species of birds expected in December - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Over 75 species of birds expected in December

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

 As you begin to count down the days to the New Year, some bird lovers are counting birds! A hundred species are expected to flock to the Tennessee Valley this winter. 

Just outside of Chattanooga, along Standifer Gap, is where the first bird count of the season will take place. The Ornithological Society gathered on December 16, to walk a 15-mile stretch, counting every species of bird.

They'll likely find the Hermit Thrush, Eastern Blue Bird, American Robin, and the Sandhill Crane.

Bill Haley with the Ornithological Society says, "We've got plenty of robins and plenty of blue birds because a lot of northern birds come to spend winter, so we have more in the winter time than we do in the summer."

Privet Berries are abundant this year after last year's mild winter. In the summer they produce small white flowers. The flowers turn to a black berry in the fall. It's poisonous to humans, but good for wildlife.

Haley says, "Some years when the privet berries fail, we don't see too many hermit thrushes."

A second bird count will occur on December 27, and the last is scheduled for January 1, around the Hiwassee Refugee near Birchwood.

Haley adds, "There are typically 10 - 12,000 Sandhill Cranes that migrate to that area."

Over the years, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has planted corn near the river, which attracts cranes.

Haley, who studies birds and participates in the counts every year, says you could see an endangered Whooping Crane. The Whooping Crane is solid white with black winged tips with less than 300 left in the world.

As these birds pass through our area, experts say berries can attract them to your property. This includes the Evergreen Holly such as Boulder Creek and Cilata Major. The Deciduous Holly includes the Warren Red, Winter Red, and Red Sprite. Also try a Dogwood Berry and Maple Leaf Viburnum.

Have a weather related story? Feel free to email Meteorologist Brittany Beggs

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