LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Feb. 1, 2011 — While Donald Duck may be the most famous bird at Walt Disney World Resort, he’s not the only one. He’s apparently got a lot of company.
On a recent day in January, Disney cast members and friends counted as many as 14,000 birds, representing at least 110 different species around the resort. This day-long census was conducted during the first Holiday Bird Count at Walt Disney World. The one-day bird-fest enabled birders of all skill levels to join together to help determine which birds are found in Central Florida during the winter. The event was modeled after the Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count, which began in 1900 as a way for scientists to track trends in bird populations.
“As part of our commitment to conserving bird species, we’re excited to engage our cast members in citizen science projects,” said senior conservation biologist Dr. Anne Savage, Ph.D. “Ultimately, our goal is to protect birds and their habitat and one of the best ways to do that is by sharing the amazing stories of wildlife found in Florida and around the world.”
At Walt Disney World Resort, it appears that the most abundant bird species is the fish crow, with 2,725 of them cited. White ibises ranked second with over 1,000 birds roosting by Oasis in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The bird counters also noted some new species to the list, including Brown Pelicans, Hooded and Black-throated Green Warblers, a Forster’s Tern, a Pine Siskin, a Vesper Sparrow and a Shiny Cowbird.
But the most photographed bird of the day was a life-sized duck wearing a sombrero in the Mexico Pavilion. Donald Duck showed his appreciation for the volunteers by posing for pictures with his bird-friendly admirers.