Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

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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Large group of 65 area birders participate in Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count

By Iain Wilkes

On December 27th local birders took part in the Audubon Society’s 115th 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 the area on one specific day between December 16th 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.

Great Horned Owl Howard Robinson

Great Horned Owl photographed during the Carleton Place CBC. Photo by Howard Robinson

This year’s excellent turn out to conduct the Carleton Place count included 39 field volunteers and 26 feeder observers.  Over 5440 individual birds were recorded during a day that was cloudy with sunny breaks and above average temperatures. This represented 47 different species of birds recorded.  Highlights for this year were record high numbers of White-breasted Nuthatch, Ravens and Pileated Woodpeckers seen and a single Great-Blue Heron found in the marsh on Hwy 7 at the edge of town.    Notable and in common with other southern Ontario count areas, was the near complete absence of northern birds, including very low numbers of Redpolls, Siskins, Crossbills and Snow Buntings as well as no Bohemian Waxwings, Pine Grosbeaks or Golden-crowned Kinglets.   One Snowy Owl arrived early in December and is still resident on the edge of Carleton Place.  Other Owls included 1 Great Horned and 2 Barred Owls, as well as two Saw-whet Owls heard during the count week. Other raptors included 14 Red-tailed and 2 Rough-legged Hawks, plus 1 Bald Eagle, 1 Northern Harrier, 2 Cooper’s and 1 Merlin. The complete list of species number is posted here: CP CBC Records 2014

House Sparrows Howard RobinsonHouse Sparrows photographed during the Carleton Place CBC. Photo by Howard Robinson.

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 when 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 as part of their ongoing conversation programs.

Happy New Year and Best Wishes for 2015

 

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Avid birders and nature lovers in Carleton Place and surrounding areas will soon join citizen scientists throughout the Americas and participate in the 115th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). Participants are invited to take part in the Carleton Place CBC to be held this year on Saturday, December 27th.  The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) will once again sponsor this bird count as well as the Lanark Highlands count. The count area for the Carleton Place CBC is a 24 km circle centered on the bridge over the Mississippi River in Carleton Place, and includes Almonte, Appleton and Ashton.

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

Over 2,000 individual counts are scheduled to take place throughout the Americas and beyond between December 14, 2014 and January 5, 2015. The intense citizen science effort of Christmas bird counts began over a century ago when 27 conservationists changed the course of ornithological history.  On Christmas Day in 1900, Frank Chapman (scientist, writer and a member of the budding Audubon Society) proposed that instead of the traditional hunt that they count all the birds they saw, founding a popular tradition and one that is now considered 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,” says Dick Cannings, Bird Studies Canada’s Christmas Bird Count Coordinator.  “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 2013 Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count over 50 volunteers spent the day observing birds resulting in the recording of over 5200 birds and 44 different species. The first Carleton Place CBC took place in 1944.

 Volunteers are essential to the success of the Christmas bird counts. You do not have 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 December 27th Carleton Place count, please contact Iain Wilkes at 613-257-1126 or  .  If you are interested in helping out by counting birds at home at your feeder please contact Georgina Doe at 613- 257-2103.  At the end of the Carleton Place count day, field participants will return to the Community Room upstairs at Steve’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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Press Release

Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

November 26, 2013

Join 114th Audubon Christmas Bird Counting tradition as part of Carleton Place or Lanark Highlands count

Birders and nature enthusiasts in Carleton Place and Lanark Highlands areas will soon 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 Friday, December 27th. The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) will once again sponsor this bird count. 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. The Lanark Highlands count, also sponsored by MVFN, will take place a few days later on Monday, December 30th.  Details for both counts will be posted on the MVFN.ca website.

This year, over 2,000 individual counts are scheduled to take place throughout the Americas and beyond between December 14, 2012 and January 5, 2013. “Each CBC volunteer observer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation,” says Dick Cannings, Bird Studies Canada’s Christmas Bird Count Coordinator. “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 2012 Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count over 50 volunteers spent the day observing birds resulting in the recording of nearly 5000 birds and 56 different species. The first Audubon bird count in Carleton Place took place in 1944.

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.

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 613-257-1126 or . If you are interested in helping out by counting birds at your feeder for the Carleton Place count, please register with Georgina Doe at 613- 257-2103. At the end of the Carleton Place count day, field participants will return to the Community Room upstairs at Steve’s Independent in Carleton Place on McNeely Avenue for the count-in as well as refreshments.

For more information or to register for the Lanark Highlands CBC please contact Marilyn Barnett at 613-259-2269 or

Best of the Season to All!

 

 

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