Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Thursday December 27, 2018

NOTE:  In addition to the December 27th Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count, several other counts are taking place in the local community. The 16th Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count takes place Sunday, December 30 and is centered on Watson’s Corners, with the circle taking in Brightside to the north, most of Dalhousie Lake to the west, south to within a kilometer of Balderson and east to include Middleville. Count organizer is Marilyn Barnett:    or 613-259-2269. Follow this link to the Macnamara Field Naturalists’ Club for further details of the Pakenham-Arnprior Christmas Bird Count which will take place December 26th.

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 119th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). The Carleton Place CBC will be held this year on Thursday, 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, 2018 and January 5, 2019. “Each CBC volunteer observer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation. Bird Studies Canada and its partner at the National Audubon Society in the United States rely on data from the CBC database to monitor bird populations. Last year, during the 2017 Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count, 60 volunteers spent the day observing birds resulting in the recording of over 5700 birds and 42 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!

Join a team or count at your feeder

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 also 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 613-250-0722 or   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 Carleton Place Library, 101 Beckwith St., for the count-in as well as refreshments and snacks.

Best of the Season to All,

Iain Wilkes

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2018 Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count

On December 27th, 38 hearty field and 20 feeder observers participated in the 68th Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count.  It was a cold day with sun in the morning and cloud in the afternoon.

 

 

This years count is very close to our 10 year average with over 5400 individuals and 45 species.  Despite this we had a number of records set and/or tied for:

Mallards at 68

Wild Turkeys at 498 – keep setting a new record every year

Coopers Hawk 3 – tying the old record.  One lived in my backyard on count day enjoying the Starlings for snacks

Snowy Owls 3 – tied the old record, all close to Hwy 7

Barred Owls 3 – a new record

Pileated Woodpecker 18 – a new record

Red-bellied Woodpecker 1 – tied the old record

White-breasted Nuthatch 176 – a new record

Complete list at http://mvfn.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Carleton-Place-CBC-Count-Day-totals-2018.pdf

We also had a hand full of Rough-Legged and Red-tailed Hawks, as well as 1 Kestral.  After several years of Juncos being at record levels their numbers collapsed.  Handfuls of Pine and Evening Grosbeaks as well as Redpolls and Siskins were seen.  Waxwings were back in abundance after few to none for several years, with 630 Bohemians and 188 Cedars seen.  As always the Bohemians maintained their coolness by wearing berets, smoking Gaulois and discussing Proust.

 

At the end of the day the count in was conducted at the CP Library with refreshments and snacks provided by the MVFN social committee.

Happy Year’s End to all and best wishes for 2019.

Cheers,

Iain Wilkes

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On December 27th, 38 brave souls braved the ongoing frigid temperatures (-25 to -29) with just enough breeze to make it a challenge to be outside counting birds as part of a field team for the 118th Audubon Christmas Bird Count in the Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count (CBC) circle.  As well, 22 feeder observers participated at their homes. The Carleton Place count was one of three Audubon Christmas Bird Counts sponsored by MVFN within the local area (including the 2017 Rideau Ferry Christmas Bird Count and the 2017 Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count).

The count recorded 40 different species, and 5379 individual birds were recorded.  These numbers are a good 10% below the averages.  The main reason being the continuing lack of northern birds in the area; there were no Bohemian Waxwings, Crossbills, Pine Grosbeaks or Evening Grosbeaks seen on count day or during the count week.  As well the low temperatures convinced the thousands of geese in the area in late November to head south.  Also, fewer hawks were seen throughout the area with no Roughies being seen at all.

Despite this it was a great day with 2 new records set and 2 past records tied. The highlight was a Short-eared Owl which Howard and Mary Robinson found north of Carleton Place sunning itself on a step in the middle of the day. This was a first-time bird for our CBC.  As well a record number of Juncos were recorded (310).  In the last few years people have observed more Juncos at feeders and they stay longer, so maybe the CBC count is confirming this trend. In addition, one Rusty Blackbird was found in a farm yard by Ken Alison and Sophie Roy as well as one Red-bellied Woodpecker found by Arnie and Martha Simpson.  Both these birds tied the past records.

 

 

The end of the day count in took place at the Carleton Place Arena and the MVFN Social Committee provided delicious snacks and refreshments.  Many thanks to all the volunteers who made this another successful and enjoyable Christmas Bird Count.

A PDF of the complete results are available here.

Wishing all of you the best in 2018!

Cheers

Iain

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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 Wednesday, December 27th and it is sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN; one of three sponsored by MVFN, including the Rideau Ferry Christmas Bird Count and the Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count) 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.

Thousands of individuals participate in counts throughout the Americas and beyond between December 14, 2017 and January 5, 2018. “Each CBC volunteer observer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation.  Bird Studies Canada and its partner at the National Audubon Society in the United States rely on data from the CBC database to monitor bird populations.  Last year, during the 2016 Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count over 60 volunteers spent the day observing birds resulting in the recording of over 6000 birds and 39 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 also 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 613-250-0722 or .  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 Board Room on the first floor of the Carleton Place Arena at 75 Neelin St. in Carleton Place (corner of Neelin St. and Begley St.),  for the count-in as well as refreshments and snacks.

Best of the Season to All!

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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!

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