Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley
Mississippi River at Pakenham

Bird Counts

Birders Participate in 66th Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count December 2016

On December 27, 2016, local birders took part in the Audubon Society’s 117th Christmas Bird Count (CBC) supported within Canada by Bird Studies Canada.   Audubon’s CBC is composed of over 2300 defined areas across North America where thousands of citizen scientists each year volunteer their time to record every bird within an area on one specific day between December 14th and January 5th.   The center of the bridge over the Mississippi River in Carleton Place defines the center of a 12-km radius circle within which all species and individuals are recorded.  The resultant data is provided to Audubon for research into changing species populations and locations and it is an essential element in conservation plans and habitat protection across our continent.

This year 38 field and 25 feeder observers participated in the 66th Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count.  The day was mild, between 2 and 4 degrees Celsius, and cloudy, with a wind from the west that made it feel colder.  The results were much lower than last year’s excellent numbers, but still around the average for count day.  There were just over 6000 individuals seen and 39 species.  An additional two species were seen during count week (Snowy Owl and Sharp-shinned Hawk).

Table of Data from count-in:  CP CBC 2016 Count Data pdf

Highlights of the 2016 Carleton Place Count:

  • 428 Wild Turkeys was a record high
  • Waterfowl numbers were way down because the river is mostly frozen:  1 Canada Goose! 39 Mallards and 25 Goldeneye
  • Raptors were generally less abundant, except for Goshawks; 3 Goshawks was equal to a past record
  • 1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak found at a feeder
  • 1 Song Sparrow and 1 Carolina Wren at a feeder
  • Again, this year finches were consistently low, with 7 Redpolls, no Purple Finches, no Siskins, no Crossbills and no Pine Grosbeaks
  • 181 Robins
  • Good numbers of Starlings: 1223

Many thanks go to all the volunteers who make this important conservation program successful and to the MVFN social committee, who organized the food and refreshments at the end of the day in the community room where the tired field volunteers arrived to have their data recorded, and to trade stories of their day.  The Carleton Place CBC is organized by Iain Wilkes and supported by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists.

Happy New Year and Best Wishes for 2017!

Cardinal. photo Susan Wilkes

Cardinal. photo Susan Wilkes

Carolina Wren. photo Susan Wilkes

Carolina Wren. photo Susan Wilkes

Mourning Doves. photo Susan Wilkes

Mourning Doves. photo Susan Wilkes

Sharp-shinned hawk. photo Susan Wilkes

Sharp-shinned hawk. photo Susan Wilkes

Song Sparrow. photo Susan Wilkes

Song Sparrow. photo Susan Wilkes

House Finch. photo Susan Wilkes

House Finch. photo Susan Wilkes

Audubon Christmas Bird Counts sponsored by MVFN

cbc_online_graphic

 

Again, this season, thousands will take part in Audubon Christmas Bird counts (CBC’s) across the Americas. This sociable citizen science tradition began Christmas Day in 1900. Organized by conservation minded ornithologist Frank Chapman, people at 25 locations, including Toronto, Ontario took part in a “Christmas Bird Census” (instead of a hunt) to identify and record, as many birds as possible for the day. Thus, was founded one of the world’s most significant citizen-based conservation efforts. Bird Studies Canada and partners at the National Audubon Society in the United States rely on the data to monitor populations and guide conservation efforts.

Volunteers are needed for all three counts sponsored by MVFN in our local area. You can help by counting birds at your feeder or out and about by joining a field team. You do not need to be an expert but it helps to be familiar with local species. Field counters are placed in a field team led by an experienced birder. You will need a pair of binoculars. Also, residents with bird feeders within a count area can participate from home by recording visiting birds on count day. At the end of the day field and feeder counters gather to socialize at the “count-in” and share stories and refreshments. Registration information for a few local counts sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists is listed below.

For further information about Audubon Christmas Bird Counts visit http://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count

Rideau Ferry Christmas Bird Count

Saturday December 17. The count is centered on Rideau Ferry and includes Perth, most of Smith’s Falls, Murphy’s Point Provincial Park, and several conservation areas. Register with Alison Bentley at or 613-273-4428. Feeder counters contact Judy Buehler at or 613-264-8856. Full details of this count can be found in this press release by Alison Bentley.

Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count

Tuesday, December 27. The count area is a 24-km circle centered on the bridge over the Mississippi River in Carleton Place, and includes Almonte, Appleton and Ashton. Contact Iain Wilkes at .  Feeder counters register with Georgina Doe at 613-257-2103. Further details can be found in the CP count press release here.

 Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count

Wednesday, December 30. The count circle is centered on Watson’s Corners and includes Brightside to the north, Middleville to the east, most of Dalhousie Lake to the west, and south to within a km of Balderson. To register contact Marilyn Barnett at  or  613-259-2269. Feeder Counters register with Marj Montgomery before Christmas at  or 613-259-3078. Further details can be found in the Lanark Highlands CBC press release here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rideau Ferry Christmas  Bird Count

Press Release

Alison Bentley

On Saturday December 17, 2016 birders from Perth, Smiths Falls, and from as far away as Kingston and Ottawa, will be participating in the 117th Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC).  The Rideau Ferry CBC area is a 24 km diameter circle centered on Rideau Ferry and covers the town of Perth, most of Smith’s Falls, Murphy’s Point Provincial Park, several conservation areas, and a variety of habitats ranging from open fields and dense woodlands to wetlands and lakes.

Count organizers are looking not only for experienced birders to help cover one of the count sections but also for enthusiastic participants who would like to come out and learn more about which birds choose to stay with us over the winter.  If you are interested in becoming part of a field team, please contact Compiler Alison Bentley at  or 613-273-4428.

We are especially looking for people within the count circle who have bird feeders and can keep an extra eye on them on December 17; full instructions will be provided.  The Feeder Coordinator Judy Buehler, would love to hear from you if you can help in this regard.  Feeders are a very important part of the survey as frequently birds show up at these sheltered winter food sources that are not recorded elsewhere in the circle.  We had very few reports from feeders in 2015 so are particularly anxious to hear from potential feeder watchers this year.  If you don’t have email, please call Judy at 613-264-8856.

Results from the day’s observations will be compiled at a potluck supper in Perth, to which all field and feeder observers are invited, and then sent to Bird Studies Canada and the National Audubon Society.  Christmas Bird Counts take place all over the Western Hemisphere and are vital in providing an accurate assessment of the health of wintering bird populations.  The over 76,000 volunteers taking part in the counts can track wintering bird populations on a much larger scale than scientists alone can hope to do.  Data collected from the counts has been used for a multiplicity of research studies and to monitor climate change.  As the Audubon report on the 116th count states: “The cumulative efforts of all CBC participants over the past five decades has enabled Audubon and other groups to document how species have shifted their early-winter ranges in the face of a changing climate”.

If you can help us to do our part in this important bird monitoring initiative, please contact one of the coordinators listed above.  Looking forward to seeing you on December 17!

MVFN Sponsors Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count

December 30, 2016

Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) have been around in the Western Hemisphere since the year 1900. Three count circles (7 1/2 mile radius) have been operating for decades in Lanark County and area including Carleton Place, Rideau Ferry and Pakenham.

A fourth circle, the Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count (LHCBC), has been around for 12 years, since 2003. This year will be the thirteenth count. Designed to fill a large gap in Lanark County, the LHCBC, sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN), is centred on Watson’s Corners. This count circle takes in Brightside to the north, most of Dalhousie Lake to the west, south to within a km of Balderson and east to include Middleville.  The Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count is always on December 30th and this year it falls on a Friday.

The Christmas Bird Count is conducted by interested birders who are formed into teams each with a group leader.  These avid birders comb the roads, trails and woodlots during the count day to record every bird seen or heard. The results are sent to Bird Studies Canada. This annual event produces a definitive census of our bird population across the entire Western Hemisphere and is used for many research and conservation programs designed to encourage the continuing health of our avian friends.

All persons interested in gathering data on our local bird population are invited to join in the count. Teams will be formed, each team having a knowledgeable birder. Each team will be assigned a count area and will spend the daylight hours from 8 a.m. counting every bird they see or hear. Many of us meet at the Lanark Landing for lunch on George Street in Lanark at noon to warm up and share stories before heading out for a few more hours of counting. At 3:30 or so, the birders gather at the Lanark Civitan Hall just outside Lanark Village along Pine Grove Road (called South Street in Lanark Village)to record their findings and enjoy hot refreshments and some tasty goodies and watch the final count numbers as they come in. This is a fun and important day as we keep track of and record our local bird populations for research purposes.

Residents in the count circle area who have active bird feeders may like to take part in the count as a feeder counter by spending a few hours documenting birds at their feeders. Feeder Counters must register with Feeder Coordinator, Marj Montgomery, before Christmas by email at or leave a message for her at 613-259-3078.  On December 30, the feeder watchers will count every bird coming in to their feeders or appearing in their yard and, by 2 p.m., preferably email your results to Marj or leave her a message.  These numbers will be totalled and added to the main count from the field observations.

Count coordinator is Marilyn Barnett. Howard Robinson enters all the data into our central data base. Complier of the data is Cliff Bennett. If you have not participated before and would like to register for the field count, please contact Marilyn preferably by e-mail at or call her at 613-259-2269.

Carleton Place participates in 117th Audubon Christmas Bird Count

by Iain Wilkes

Birders and nature enthusiasts in Carleton Place and surrounding areas can join citizen scientists throughout the Americas and participate in the Audubon Society’s longest-running wintertime tradition, the Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). The Carleton Place CBC will be held this year on Tuesday, December 27th and it is sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) and coordinated in Canada by Bird Studies Canada.  The count area is a 24 km circle centered on the bridge over the Mississippi River in Carleton Place, and includes Almonte, Appleton and Ashton. Details for Christmas Bird Counts can be found on the Audubon website.

Thousands of individuals participate in counts throughout the Americas and beyond between December 14, 2016 and January 5, 2017. “Each CBC volunteer observer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation.”  Bird Studies Canada and our partners at the National Audubon Society in the United States rely on data from the CBC database to monitor bird populations.  Last year, during the 2015 Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count over 60 volunteers spent the day observing birds resulting in the recording of over 6700 birds and 46 different species.

The CBC tradition began over a century ago when 27 conservationists in 25 localities, led by scientist and writer Frank Chapman, changed the course of ornithological history.  On Christmas Day in 1900, the small group posed an alternative to the ‘side hunt,’ a Christmas day activity in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds and small mammals.  Instead, Chapman proposed that they identify, count, and record all the birds they saw, founding what is now considered to be the world’s most significant citizen-based conservation effort.   The first Audubon bird count in Carleton Place took place in 1944.

Volunteers are essential to the success of the CBC. You don’t need to be an expert but it helps to be familiar with local bird species.  In any case, participants in the field counts will be placed in a team led by an experienced birder and everyone is welcome. You will need a pair of binoculars.  As well residents with bird feeders within a count area can  help by listing all birds at your feeder or in your yard on the count day.

For more information or to register for the Carleton Place CBC on December 27th, please contact Iain Wilkes at    If you are interested in helping out by counting birds at your feeder/yard, please register with Georgina Doe at 613- 257-2103.  At the end of the Carleton Place count day, field participants return to the Community Room upstairs at Mitchell’s Independent in Carleton Place on McNeely Avenue for the count-in as well as refreshments.

Best of the Season to All!

Red-breasted Nuthatch (1024x892)

A red-breasted nuthatch, one of the species which may be seen during the Christmas Bird Counts being organized by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists.  Photo by Susan Wilkes

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