Birders find increase

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The annual V.I. Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count on St. John reported almost 40 percent more birds than during the previous year’s census.  Laurel Brannick-Trager, the group’s president, said at least 1,650 birds from 60 species were identified by the 27 counters. In 2003, the count found 1,180 birds of 56 species. One probable reason the count was higher, she told the St. John Source, was the participation of more experienced birders.  It has been almost 10 years since a major hurricane (Marilyn in 1995, and that has helped the birds survive and their habitats to be secure.  A third of the birds counted, she said, were of the gray king species, but rare birds were also seen including the tricolored heron, the Sora Rail and the yellow rump warbler, Trager told the Source.

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