By Alan Kneidel
In 2021, at Manomet’s 40-acre headquarters location in Plymouth, Massachusetts, a total of 209 bird species were cataloged in the eBird smartphone app by many different observers. Our contributing pool of observations came from birds caught in mist-nets on Manomet’s coastal property and then banded by scientists at Manomet Observatory’s bird banding lab, birds observed during our weekly property censuses for biodiversity, and other incidental observations.
Manomet’s headquarters sprawl across a variety of habitats, including freshwater wetlands, a coastal forest, upland meadows, gardens, and an oceanfront bluff overlooking the Cape Cod Bay. In addition to its natural wealth, Manomet’s Plymouth campus is home to a rich history of ornithological observation and research, which dates back to early-1900s naturalists who studied the property’s flora and fauna and continues today with Manomet’s scientific staff. At Manomet, an all-time cumulative total of 315 bird species have been recorded, second only to Parker River National Wildlife Refuge as a birding hotspot in Massachusetts, according to eBird.
In this story, I rank the top 10 bird recordings of 2021, gauging their significance by cross-referencing our eBird database, our bird banding lab records, and journal entries from previous staff over the course of Manomet’s more-than-50-year history. Thousands of bird encounters through the decades may not have been recorded for posterity; here, a “first record” refers to the first time a species has been entered into our official files.
So, let’s get to it!