A preliminary total of 219 bird species were accounted for Monday night at the Matagorda County-Mad Island Marsh Christmas Bird Count (CBC).
The Mad Island event is part of the 118th Annual Audubon North American Christmas Bird Count (CBC).
That total can change depending on five rare birds that require documentation.
The Whooping Crane, Morning Warbler, Summer Tangier and Western Tangier are not normally found in the 15-mile diameter counting area.
That puts Matagorda County down from last year’s 229.
“We’re probably in the top five of the nation still,” said CBC Compiler Brent Ortego.
“It’s hard to say right now.”
Over 100 birders pitched in to help out with this year’s count in 13 separate sections of the count circle and braved the rain to help make Matagorda County number one this year.
“Last year we had a cold weather count and this year we had a wet one,” said Ortego.
“Not to mention some migratory birds that did not survive Hurricane Harvey. The hurricane came at a key time for many migratory species and decimated bird populations in Port Arthur.”
Ortego also had the 13 section leaders agree on this year’s “Best Bird” before the evening ended.
“Usually, it takes a few months for us to decide on one bird,” he said.