ST. IGNACE, Mich. (WJMN) – The Straits Area Audubon Society (SAAC) holds its Christmas Bird Count (CBC) from midnight to midnight each year. The annual collection of avian data shows not only a quantity of birds but helps track the different species. During the 2022 count, the SAAC reports spotting a record number of Redhead ducks, which caused at least a couple of calls to nearby authorities.

The CBC was held on December 21, 2022. It was postponed a week due to high winds. A group of 8 birders set out at dawn to record the birds within a 15-mile diameter circle, with the mid-point centered on the Mackinac Bridge.

47 different species were counted, totaling 8,700 birds.

Among those numbers were 7,000 Redhead ducks. A group of ducks floating together is called a raft. With an escort from bridge personnel, the ducks were able to be photographed. According to the SAAC, a raft of ducks if often misreported by people on the bridge as a possible oil slick.

The SAAC also reports the most difficult problem was estimating numbers when the ducks are packed so tightly that individual birds cannot be discerned.