Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count 2009

CARLETON PLACE AND AREA BIRDERS TO TAKE PART IN
110th ANNUAL CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT

Birders and nature enthusiasts in Carleton Place and area will join birders across the western hemisphere and participate in Audubon’s longest-running wintertime tradition, the annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC), to be held on December 27th. This year, over 2,000 individual counts are scheduled to take place throughout the Americas and beyond from December 14, 2009 to January 5, 2010.

“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 across North America.” During last year’s count, about 70 million birds were tallied by nearly 58,000 volunteers across the continent, which was a record number of observers. In Canada, 11,565 participants counted over 3.2 million birds on a record-high 371 counts.

The data gathered by all this work goes into a huge database used daily by biologists all over the world to monitor the populations and distribution of North American birds. Some of it is key evidence for serious declines; recently Christmas Bird Count data provided pivotal information in the decision to list the Newfoundland Red Crossbill and Rusty Blackbird under the federal Species At Risk Act.

The CBC 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 – and a more than century-old institution.

Since Chapman’s retirement in 1934, new generations of observers have performed the modern-day count. Today, over 55,000 volunteers from all 50 states, every Canadian province, parts of Central and South America, Bermuda, the West Indies, and Pacific Islands, count and record every individual bird and bird species seen in a specified area.

The 110th CBC is expected to be larger than ever, expanding its geographical coverage and accumulating information about the winter distributions of various birds. The CBC is vital in monitoring the status of resident and migratory birds across the Western Hemisphere, and the data, which are 100% volunteer generated, have become a crucial part of Canada’s natural history monitoring database.

The Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count takes place on Sunday, December 27th and it is organized by Iain Wilkes, who is also the official Carleton Place compiler for BSC and Georgina Doe co-ordinates all of the feeder counts. Volunteers are welcomed and you don’t need to be an expert but it helps to know the local birds. Participants will be placed in a team led by an experienced birder. You will need a pair of binoculars, a hot thermos and lunch. There is a $5 participation fee levied for each counter. For more information or to register, contact Iain Wilkes, 257-1126 or Home residents with bird feeders can also help by listing all birds at your feeder or in your yard on the count day. Feeder counters should register with Georgina Doe, 257-2103.

At the end of the day, count teams return to the Community Room upstairs at Steve’s Independent in Carleton Place on McNeely Avenue for the count-in as well as refreshments. We look forward to the December 27th count and best of the season to all.

-Iain Wilkes

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Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count 2008

MVFN sponsors two Christmas Bird Counts, the Carleton Place Count (December 27) and the Lanark Highlands Count (December 30).

We need helpers for both of these counts.

Here’s an opportunity to shake off the excesses from Christmas and, become a citizen scientist by helping to record our bird population in these two areas. If you have counted before, please consider coming out again this year. If you are a novice, come out anyway as the extra pairs of eyes are invaluable. In both cases, we will place you with a team leader, one who knows birds.

Dress warmly, bring a hot thermos, and a lunch (unless joining a group lunch in a local pub). Don’t forget your binoculars.
There is a cost of $5 per person to help defray cost of compiling results.

If you can’t come out, will you agree to count all of the birds that come to your feeders that day?

For the Carleton Place Count (includes Almonte), Saturday, Dec. 27, contact organizer Iain Wilkes at 613-257-1126 or 

For Carleton Place feeder counting (includes Almonte), contact Georgina Doe at 613-.57-2103 or .

For the Lanark Highlands Count on Tuesday, Dec. 30, contact organizer
Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or .

For Lanark Highlands feeder counting, contact Marj Montgomery at 613-259-3078.

At the end of the day, Carleton Place count teams return to the Community Room upstairs at Steve’s Independent in Carleton Place for the count-in as well as refreshments and the Lanark Highlands count teams return to the Nature Lovers Book Store.

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Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count – Results 2007

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
January 2, 2008

by Mike Jaques

Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count – Results 2007

Links to: Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count – Results 2007 (Microsoft Excel or Viewer required to view).

The 64th annual Christmas Bird Count took place on Tuesday December 27th 2007.  It was one of over 2000 counts taking place throughout the Americas over the Christmas period.  The count area is a circle of 15 miles diameter centred on the bridge over the Mississippi River in Carleton Place and including Almonte, Appleton and Ashton.

The temperature was mild, between -3°C and -1°C.  The day started cloudy but by 11 a.m. it started snowing and the snow kept up for the rest of the day, keeping the birds hunkered down and making visibility difficult.  There was about a foot of snow on the ground and cold weather before Christmas had frozen Mississippi Lake and River, although the recent milder weather had caused parts of the river and some creeks to open up.

The number of species seen was 42, which is below the ten-year average of 43.  The number of birds counted was 5011, which is the second-lowest total in the last ten years.  The all-time highs are 50 species and 8855 birds.  No new species for the count were tallied, but there was a record high count of Pileated Woodpeckers (15).  This year there were more birds down from the north than last year, including Common Redpolls, a Hoary Redpoll, Bohemian Waxwings, Pine Grosbeaks and some Evening Grosbeaks although not in the numbers we have seen in the past.  The lower numbers of our usual winter birds were probably due in part to the bad weather on count day.

This year the count was organized by Iain Wilkes for the first time.  At the end of the day the field observers gathered at Mexicali Rosa’s to see the field results displayed.  Georgina Doe organized the feeder counts and Mike Jaques compiled the final results.  The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists sponsored the count and 28 field observers and 31 feeder operators took part.

A list of all species seen and their numbers follows:

Canada Goose                 9

Mallard                            1

Common Goldeneye        62

Common Merganser        8

Sharp-shinned Hawk       3

Cooper’s Hawk                2

Northern Goshawk          1

Red-tailed Hawk             5

Merlin                              1

Ruffed Grouse                 11

Wild Turkey                     158

Herring Gull                     2

Rock Pigeon                    448

Mourning Dove               276

Barred Owl                      1

Downy Woodpecker       64

Hairy Woodpecker          61

Pileated Woodpecker      15

Northern Shrike               7

Blue Jay                           317

American Crow               346

Common Raven               6

Black-capped Chickadee 830

Red-breasted Nuthatch   7

White-breasted Nuthatch        98

Brown Creeper                3

European Starling            126

Bohemian Waxwing        525

Cedar Waxwing               24

American Tree Sparrow   41

Song Sparrow                  1

Dark-eyed Junco              88

Snow Bunting                  150

Northern Cardinal            63

Pine Grosbeak                  31

Purple Finch                     6

Common Redpoll            751

Hoary Redpoll                 1

Pine Siskin                       20

American Goldfinch        264

Evening Grosbeak           100

House Sparrow                78

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Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count 2006

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
January 2, 2007

by Mike Jaques

Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count 2006 

The 63rd annual Christmas Bird Count took place onTuesday December 27th 2006. It was one of over 2000 counts taking place throughout the Americas over the Christmas period. The count area is a circle of 15 miles diameter centered on the bridge over the Mississippi River in Carleton Place and including Almonte, Appleton and Ashton. The first count was conducted in 1944 by George and Douglas Findlay and three others.

The weather on the day was mostly cloudy with temperatures between -10°C and -6°C. There was some snow on the ground but unusually mild weather until Christmas meant that Mississippi Lake was wide open. This was unprecedented and resulted in large numbers of ducks being seen on the lake and many records being broken.

The number of species seen was 44, which is average. The number of birds counted was 6615, which is above average. The all-time highs are 50 species and 8855 birds. No new species for the count were tallied, but the first Great Blue Heron since 1997 and the first Belted Kingfisher since 1998 was found. For the second year in succession a Carolina Wren was seen at a feeder in Carleton Place and other lingering summer birds were found. There were no Evening Grosbeaks or Common Redpolls and generally lower numbers of the winter birds from the north.

There were record highs counts and ties for record for the following species (previous highs in brackets):

Great Blue Heron 1 (1 in 1997)

Canada Goose 395 (318 in 2003)

Common Goldeneye 82 (64 in 2005)

Common Merganser 291 (34 in 1988)

Bald Eagle 4 (2 in 2003)

Cooper’s Hawk 3 (3 in 2003)

Red-tailed Hawk 21 (21 in 2001)

Downy Woodpecker 106 (101 in 1981)

White-breasted Nuthatch 139 (139 in 1982)

Carolina Wren 1 (1 in 2005)

The count was organized by Cliff Bennett. At the end of the day the field observers gathered at the 7 West Cafe to see the field results displayed. Georgina Doe organized the feeder counts and Mike Jaques compiled the final results. The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists sponsored the count and 27 field observers and 38 feeder operators took part.

A list of all species seen and their numbers is as follows:

Great Blue Heron 1
Canada Goose 395
Ring-necked Duck 1
Common Goldeneye 82
Common Merganser 291
Bald Eagle 4
Northern Harrier 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk 2
Cooper’s Hawk 3
Red-tailed Hawk 21
Rough-legged Hawk 18
Ruffed Grouse 18
Wild Turkey 103
Ring-billed Gull 2
Rock Pigeon 729
Mourning Dove 335
Belted Kingfisher 1
Downy Woodpecker 106
Hairy Woodpecker 89
Pileated Woodpecker 8
Northern Shrike 3
Blue Jay 374
American Crow 417
Common Raven 7
Black-capped Chickadee 982
Red-breasted Nuthatch 15
White-breasted Nuthatch 139
Brown Creeper 2
Carolina Wren 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 3
American Robin 1
European Starling 753
Cedar Waxwing 102
American Tree Sparrow 285
Dark-eyed Junco 110
Snow Bunting 307
Northern Cardinal 49
Red-winged Blackbird 3
Common Grackle 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
Purple Finch 4
House Finch 57
American Goldfinch 624
House Sparrow 164

Also seen in the count week, but not on the day, were Pine Siskins.

Mike Jaques

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Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count 2005

Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count 2005

Carleton Place Count: click for detailed statistics  – species seen and their numbers by sector within the count circle.

The 62nd annual Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count took place on Tuesday December 27th 2005. The count area is a circle of 15 miles diameter centered on the bridge over the Mississippi River in Carleton Place and included Almonte, most of Ramsay and Beckwith, some of Drummond and an adjacent part of the City of Ottawa . In the morning the sky was clear with a temperature of -8°C and in the afternoon it was -3°C and cloudy. There was lots of snow on the ground but mild weather beforehand resulted in many streams and the Mississippi River being more open than usual. 39 field observers and 31 feeder operators took part.

The number of species seen was 47, which is above average. The number of birds counted was 7473, which is also above average. The all-time highs are 50 species and 8855 birds. No new species for the count were tallied, but the first American Black Duck since 1995 was found on the Mississippi near the Highway 7 bridge, the second-only Golden Eagle was seen near Ashton, and the second-only Carolina Wren was seen at a feeder in Carleton Place, the first since 1975.

There were also record highs counts of the following species:

Common Goldeneye 64 (previous high 43 in 1991)

Wild Turkey 169 (previous high 72 in 2004)

Barred Owl 2 (tied previous highs)

Black-capped Chickadee 1320 (previous high 1230 in 1994).

The count was organized by Cliff Bennett. At the end of the day the field observers gathered at the 7 West Cafe to see the field results displayed. Georgina Doe organized the feeder counts and Mike Jaques compiled the final results. The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists sponsored the count.Team leaders in the field were Iain Wilkes, Mike Jaques of Carleton Place, Tine Kuiper, Lynda Bennett, of Ramsay; Brenda Carter, Merrickville, Al Potvin, Allan Goddard, Pip Winters, Almonte, Don Brown, Kanata, Arnie Simpson, Beckwith.

A list of all species seen and their numbers follows:

Canada Goose 14

American Black Duck 1

Mallard 5

Common Goldeneye 64

Common Merganser 5

Bald Eagle 1

Sharp-shinned Hawk 1

Northern Goshawk 1

Red-tailed Hawk 2

Rough-legged Hawk 2

Golden Eagle 1

Ruffed Grouse 3

Wild Turkey 169

Rock Pigeon 891

Mourning Dove 233

Barred Owl 2

Downy Woodpecker 77

Hairy Woodpecker 81

Pileated Woodpecker 4

Northern Shrike 6

Blue Jay 447

American Crow 390

Common Raven 11

Horned Lark 7

Black-capped Chickadee 1320

Red-breasted Nuthatch 12

White-breasted Nuthatch 116

Brown Creeper 3

Carolina Wren 1

Golden-crowned Kinglet 6

European Starling 541

Bohemian Waxwing 850

Cedar Waxwing 55

Eastern Towhee 1

American Tree Sparrow 119

Song Sparrow 1

White-throated Sparrow 2

Dark-eyed Junco 80

Snow Bunting 1123

Northern Cardinal 48

Red-winged Blackbird 2

Pine Grosbeak 27

Purple Finch 3

House Finch 3

Common Redpoll 276

Pine Siskin 39

American Goldfinch 295

Evening Grosbeak 97

House Sparrow 91

Also seen in the count week, but not on the day, were Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel and Merlin.

Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count

The following is from Cliff Bennett, compiler of the Lanark Highlands CBC, which is centred on the village of Watson’s Corners, NW of Lanark Village in Lanark County:

The 3rd Annual Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count took place on Friday, Dec. 30. The weather was mild, with partly sunny skies and little or no winds. However, the back country roads were very icy and getting out to walk was downright treacherous. The count yielded a lower tally than last year, probably much to do with the icy walking conditions.

Twenty-five counters took to the field and recorded 36 different species , one more than last year’s record. However, the total number of individual birds was over 400 fewer than last year. The real success story though, was the count from eleven different feeder observers spread around the circles.
They listed 719 birds, up about 350 from last year’s count.

Three new species for the count were recorded; a goshawk, two Canada geese and a red-breasted merganser. One species conspicuous by its absence was the great gray owl and significantly lower scores than last year were listed for ruffed grouse, hairy woodpecker, blue jays, crows, chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, Bohemian waxwings and pine grosbeaks.

New records were set for wild turkeys (100), rock pigeons, red-breasted nuthatches, juncoes, pine siskins, American goldfinch and house sparrows.

Pakenham-Arnprior Counts: click for detailed statistics

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