Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

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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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!

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Local birders took part in 65thCarleton Place Christmas Bird Count

By Iain Wilkes

On December 27th local birders took part in the Audubon Society’s 116th Christmas Bird Count (CBC) supported within Canada by Bird Studies Canada, and sponsored locally by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN). 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 14 and January 5.   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.

Despite the freezing rain, sleet and snow 41 field volunteers and 22 feeder observers spent Sunday, December 27th participating in the Carleton Place CBC.  At first look the 6700 individual birds and 47 species of birds recorded appear to indicate an average year for our CBC day, but it was anything but average.  The mild weather that continued into late 2015 brought with it species that are usually long gone south as well as two new species for our area. Record flocks of Canada Geese continued in our area both in the corn fields and on the river with a total of 1801 individuals.  Within one flock was a single Snow Goose, not unusual during spring and fall migration, but one has never been seen before on count day.  As well two Sandhill Crane were found in a corn field west of Ashton another new species for the day.  Record numbers of Bald Eagle (6), Bufflehead (2), Pileated Woodpecker (16), Hooded Mergansers (13), Mallards (59) as well as Dark-eyed Juncos (275) were found during the day.

Notable once again this year and in common with other southern Ontario count areas, was the near complete absence of northern birds, including very low numbers of Redpolls, Siskins, and Snow Buntings as well as no Pine Grosbeak or Golden-crowned Kinglets.   The numbers of raptors other than the Bald Eagles were also low with only 1 Great-horned Owl reported.

Many thanks go to all of 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 trade stories of their day.  The Carleton Place CBC is organized by Iain Wilkes and supported by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists club, which also sponsors the Lanark Highlands and Rideau Ferry Christmas bird counts. A detailed list of data for the Carleton Place Christmas bird count is posted at mvfn.ca.

Happy New Year and Best Wishes for 2016!

A table of data for the count is posted here. Table legend: N= New species;  R= Record high count; T= tied an old record.

 

 

 

 

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REMINDER:

Local Audubon Christmas Bird Counts invite participants

NOTE: Feature photo of Mute Swans (at Presqu’ile), by Howard Robinson

Thousands of individuals are taking part in Audubon Christmas Bird counts throughout the Americas and beyond, between December 14, 2015, and January 5, 2016. The Annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is the Audubon Society’s longest-running wintertime tradition, beginning Christmas Day in 1900. On that day, a conservation minded ornithologist, Frank Chapman, proposed a “Christmas Bird Census” (instead of a hunt) to identify, count, and record as many birds as they could. Thus was founded what is now considered to be the world’s most significant citizen-based conservation effort. “Each CBC volunteer observer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation.”  Bird Studies Canada and partners at the National Audubon Society in the United States rely on data from the CBC database to monitor bird populations.

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists sponsors three local Christmas Bird Counts, the Carleton Place CBC (December 27), the Lanark Highlands CBC (December 30), and, new this year, the Rideau Ferry CBC (which took place on December 19). Details are included here, or visit mvfn.ca. Volunteers are essential to the success of the Christmas bird census activities. You do not 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; 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.

Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count

Date:  Sunday, 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.For more information or to register, contact Iain Wilkes at or 613-250-0722.  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.

Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count

iDate: Wednesday, December 30. The count circle includes Brightside to the north, Middleville to the east, most of Dalhousie Lake to the west, and south to within a km of Balderson. For information or to register for count teams, please contact Marilyn Barnett, preferably at  or at 613-259-2269.To register for the Feeder Counts, please contact Marjorie Montgomery before Christmas at  or, if necessary, by telephone at 613-259-3078.

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Local birders get set for 116th Audubon Christmas Bird Count 

NOTE: The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists sponsor three area Christmas Bird Counts: the Carleton Place CBC, the Lanark Highlands CBC and the newly reorganized Rideau Ferry CBC. Details for the Carleton Place count are included below at the end of this article. Link to the Rideau Ferry Count details here; details for the Lanark Highlands CBC will be posted soon; the dates and key contact info are on our interactive calendar for December.

Birders and nature enthusiasts in Carleton Place, Almonte 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 Sunday, 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.

Great Horned Owl Howard Robinson

 A Great Horned Owl, seen during last year’s Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count. Photo Howard Robinson. 

Thousands of individuals will participate in counts throughout the Americas and beyond between December 14, 2015 and January 5, 2016. “Each CBC volunteer observer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation.”  Bird Studies Canada and  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 2014 Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count over 60 volunteers spent the day observing birds resulting in the recording of over 5400 birds and 47 different species.

The CBC tradition began over a century ago when a conservation minded ornithologist, Frank Chapman, along with others, were becoming concerned about declining bird populations.  On Christmas Day in 1900, Frank Chapman proposed a new holiday tradition to take the place of the traditional Christmas Day “Side Hunt” competition to shoot the most birds and small mammals.  Instead, Chapman proposed a “Christmas Bird Census” to identify, count, and record as many birds as they could, 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; 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 or 613-250-0722. 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!

 

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