Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

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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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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