Lanark Highlands CBC
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists Sponsor Christmas Bird Count (CBC) in Lanark Highlands
by Marilyn Barnett
Christmas Bird Counts have been around in the Western Hemisphere since the year 1900. Three count circles (7 1/2 mile radius) have been operating for decades in Lanark County and area including Carleton Place, Rideau Ferry and Pakenham.
A fourth circle, the Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count (LHCBC), has been around for 11 years, since 2003. This year will be the twelfth count. Designed to fill a large gap in Lanark County, the LHCBC, sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists, is centered on Watson’s Corners. This count circle takes in Brightside to the north, most of Dalhousie Lake to the west, south to within a km. of Balderson and east to include Middleville. The Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count is always on December 30 and this year it falls on a Tuesday.
The Christmas Bird Count is conducted by interested birders who are formed into teams with group leader. These avid birders comb the roads, trails and woodlots during the count day to record every bird seen or heard. The results are sent to Bird Studies Canada. This annual event produces a definitive census of our bird population and is used for many research and conservation programs designed to encourage the continuing health of our avian friends.
All persons interested in gathering data on our local bird population are invited to join in the count. Teams will be formed, each team having a knowledgeable birder. Each team will be assigned a count area and will spend the daylight hours from 8 a.m. counting every bird they see or hear. Many of us meet at the Lanark Landing on George Street at noon to warm up, eat a hot lunch and share stories before heading out for a few more hours of counting. At 4:00 P.M. or so, the birders gather at the Lanark Civitan Hall just outside Lanark Village along Pine Grove Road (called South Street in Lanark Village) to record their findings and enjoy hot refreshments and goodies. It is a fun and important day to keep track of and record our local bird populations.
Residents in the count circle who have active bird feeders may also take part in the count. To register for the Feeder Counts, please email Feeder Coordinator Marj Montgomery ( or 259-3078 before Christmas. On December 30, the feeder watchers will count every bird coming in to their feeders or appearing in their yard and, by 2 p.m., preferably email your results to Marj or, if necessary, call her. These numbers will be totaled and added to the counts from the field observers.
Count coordinator is Marilyn Barnett; Howard Robinson enters all the data into our central data base and compiler of the data is Cliff Bennett. To register for the field count, please contact Marilyn preferably by e-mail at or call her at 613-259-2269.
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!
The Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Dear MVFN Members,
The Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count (LHCBC) is on for the 10th year, Sunday, December 30. This Lanark Highlands Count is sponsored by MVFN. It is a Bird Studies Canada project and part of the Audubon Christmas Bird Counts which take place all over North and South America. It is the largest bird census ever. The statistical data on bird species locations and numbers collected as part of this census is essential to the ongoing effort to increase our understanding of bird populations and to support conservation of wildlife.
The count depends on volunteers who become citizen scientists for a day to record the numbers and species of birds seen either at their feeders or with teams out in the field on the count day.
What is involved for those volunteers wishing to participate?
• Basic knowledge of local bird species is helpful but beginners are welcome as you will be matched with more experienced birders on the count teams.
• Feeder counters within the count circle count birds at your feeders on the count day. At the end of the day all the feeder counts are collected via telephone. Please call Marj Montgomery at 613-259-3078 to register for the feeder count.
• Field team counters will go out for the day as part of field team locating, identifying and counting birds within a well-defined subsection of the count circle. You will be assigned to one of four team leaders.
• If unusual or different species are seen up to 3 days before or after the count day they should also be reported.
The field count teams will have lunch together and continue the count afterwards. After the counting, the end-of-day, ‘count-in’ will take place at Lanark Legion Hall, beginning ~ 4 to 5:30 pm. Refreshments are provided at the count-in.
If you would like to participate in this event, please contact Marilyn Barnett at 613-259-2269 or .
For further information, please contact Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or
The Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count (LHCBC)
Friday, December 30, 2011
The Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count (LHCBC) is on for the 9th year, Friday, December 30. The LHCBC, sponsored by MVFN, is a Bird Studies Canada project and part of the larger Audubon CBCs all over North America (and now South America) . It is the largest bird census ever, to collect statistical data on bird species locations and numbers in the ongoing effort to increase our understanding of bird populations and to support conservation of wildlife. The count depends on volunteers to become citizen scientists for a day by recording the numbers and species of birds seen either at their feeders or with teams out in the field on the count day.
What is involved for those volunteers wishing to participate?
1) Basic knowledge of local bird species is helpful of course, however, beginners are welcome as they will be matched with more experienced birders.
2) For feeder watchers within the count circle, a willingness to count the birds at your feeders that day. At the end of the day all the feeder counts are collected via telephone. Call Marj Montgomery (613-259-3078) to register for the feeder count.
3) For field teams observers, a willingness to commit to a day in the field as part of a team locating, identifying and counting birds within a well-defined subsection of the count circle. You will be assigned to one of four team leaders.
The field observers usually go to Lanark Landing Restaurant in Lanark Village for lunch and the end-of-day ‘count-in’ takes place at Royal Canadian Legion hall, Lanark Village, starting at roughly 4 to 5:30 P.M. Refreshments are provided at the count-in.
Field observers are asked to pay a fee of $5.00 to help defray costs of compiling the results. Members of Bird Studies Canada are free.
If you can contribute to this event, please contact Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
January 8, 2010
Carleton Place and Lanark Highlands Christmas bird counts sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists show record numbers of wild turkeys and plenty of others
The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists sponsored two Christmas Bird counts (CBC) in Lanark County, the 59th Annual Carleton Place CBC and the 7th Annual Lanark Highlands count. Over two thousand such counts were held across North and South America, representing the largest citizen scientist activity anywhere in the world. All records are stored with the Audubon Society and used for research and conservation programmes.
These Lanark counts were both exceptional for the record number of wild turkeys seen. Common to both counts was the reduced number of winter finches (low or sharply reduced numbers of pine siskins, crossbills and pine grosbeaks). These northern boreal forest birds are likely finding adequate food further north this winter.
The 59th Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count took place on December 27, 2009 and was led by Iain Wilkes who was also the compiler. Georgina Doe led the feeder counts. Thirty-two field observers and 25 feeder counts took part during a day starting out with fog and clouds with temperatures hovering near zero after the freezing rain of Boxing Day. In all of 41 species were seen and 4562 individuals counted. This is down 7 species and approx. 500 individuals from the 2008 year. Many of the smaller rural roads were difficult to drive and significant surface ice on the road sides made it treacherous in places to pull over on the shoulder. The highlights were 2 Hooded Mergansers, 2 Grackles, 15 Red-winged Blackbirds and a record number of Turkeys at 285. There were a goodly number of Bohemians Waxwings at 159 and as well 500 Snow Buntings seen just outside Carleton Place. At the end of the day a count-in was held where the teams shared sandwiches and refreshments while compiling the results and trading stories of their days outing. Complete individual species recorded for the 2009 Carleton Place Count were:
Canada Goose (30), Mallard (9), Goldeneye (50), Hooded Merganser (2), Bald Eagle (2), Cooper’s Hawk (3), Red-tailed Hawk (5), Rough-legged Hawk (1), Ruffed Grouse (10), Turkey (285), Ring-billed Gull (3), Rock Pigeon (697), Mourning Dove (192), Downy Woodpecker (44), Hairy Woodpeckers (39), Pileated Woodpecker (8), Northern Shrike (3), Blue Jay (244), Crow (382), Raven (12), Chickadee (839), Red-breasted Nuthatch (9), White-breasted Nuthatch (76), Brown Creeper (4), Robin (7), Starling (417), Bohemian Waxwing (159), Tree Sparrow (46), White-throated Sparrow (3), Junco (43), Snow Bunting (515), Cardinal (28), Red-winged Blackbird (15), Rusty Blackbird (1), Grackle (3), Purple Finch (5), House Finch (8), Common Redpoll (10), Pine Siskin (30), Goldfinch (246), and House Sparrow (78).
Thirty-one birders took to the roads and fields for the 7th Annual Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count, held on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009 to register every bird seen or heard within the fifteen kilometre radius circle centered on Watsons Corners. The Lanark Highlands count was led by Cliff Bennett, with Bruce LeGallais, Bobby Clarke, Ted Mosquin, and Gloria Opzoomer heading up the sections. Marj Montgomery organized and compiled reports from over sixteen feeder counters, to add to the total. At the end of the count day, participants convened to Nature Lovers Book Store in Lanark for the count-in and hot beverages.
The previous record of 188 turkeys, set in last year’s count easily surpassed this year’s 288. The continued build-up of wild turkeys in the area is now evident as each year of the count produces greater numbers. Total count for the circle was 3154 birds, lowest only to the first Lanark Highlands count of 2829 in 2003. A few dozen (76) evening grosbeaks were found, mostly in the Poland area, two dozen purple finches and only four redpolls showed up and no pine siskins, crossbills or pine grosbeaks were found. In spite of the low numbers, records were set for downy woodpeckers (77), Cooper’s hawk (4) and white-breasted nuthatches (101). New to the count was a brown thrasher, which was hanging around a feeder because of an injured wing and one northern harrier. Last year set a record at 4130 birds. Number of species found this year remained high at 38, two down from last year’s record listing of 40 species. Complete individual species recorded for the Lanark Highlands count were:
mallard duck (1), common merganser (10), ruffed grouse (4), wild turkey (288), bald eagle (3), sharp-shinned hawk (1), northern harrier (1), Cooper’s hawk (4), red-tailed hawk , rough-legged hawk (1), rock pigeon (210), mourning dove (98), barred owl (1), downy woodpecker (77), hairy woodpecker (89), pileated woodpecker (7), northern shrike (2), blue jay (224), crow (97), raven (30), black-capped chickadee (897), red-breasted nuthatch (25), white-breasted nuthatch (101), brown creeper (3), golden-crowned kinglet (1), brown thrasher (1), starling (97), Bohemian waxwing (93), tree-sparrows, (87), dark-eyed junco (55), snow bunting (166), cardinal (7), purple finch (26), house finch (6), common redpoll (4), goldfinch (334), evening grosbeak (76), house sparrow (13).