Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Enhance your enjoyment of winter and the Christmas season by participating in one, or two, or even three local Christmas Bird Counts which are part of the 2017 Audubon and Bird Studies Canada annual count. The data collected is vital for bird conservation research.

Saturday, December 16: Rideau Ferry Christmas Bird Count (includes Perth and Smiths Falls) 

Wednesday, December 27: Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count (includes Almonte)

Saturday, December 30: Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count

There are two ways you can participate as a “citizen scientist” and count birds within one of three count circles:

  • sign up to be part of a team to go out on a field count in one part of the count circle for the day

OR

  • register as a “feeder counter” and contribute to the feeder/yard count data– from the comfort of your own home!

The field teams and others get together after the day is finished, for the “count-in” to have their results tabulated and to socialize with each other.

You don’t need to be a birding expert – you will be matched up with knowledgeable birders if requested.  DO bring your own binoculars!

Contact information for the count coordinators for all three local counts sponsored by MVFN are as follows. Contact the count coordinators to sign up to participate, or for more information. You can read further details for each of the counts in the press releases posted here on the website.

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Register for a 2017 Christmas Bird Count

 

Rideau Ferry Christmas Bird Count (includes Perth and Smiths Falls), Saturday, December 16

To volunteer for a team or to monitor your own feeders for the Rideau Ferry Count, contact Count Coordinator Rosemary Anderson:  or 613-700-9233.

A “count-in” potluck will take place in Perth.

Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count (includes Almonte), Wednesday, December 27

To volunteer for a CP count team, contact Count Coordinator Iain Wilkes:  or 613-250-0722.

To volunteer to monitor your own feeders/yard as part of the CP count, contact Georgina Doe:  613-257-2103.

The “count-in” will be held in the board room at the Carleton Place Arena.

Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count, Saturday, December 30

To volunteer for a team on the Lanark Highlands Count, contact Count Coordinator Marilyn Barnett: or 613-259-2269.

To volunteer to monitor your own feeders/yard as part of the Lanark Highlands Count, contact Marj Montgomery:  or 613-259-3078.

A “count-in” will take place at the Lanark Civitan Hall.

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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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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Barred and Great-horned Owls, Trumpeter Swans, Purple Finches and Pileated Woodpeckers are a few of the many colourful bird species which may be seen or heard, and counted, by keen observers during the Rideau Ferry Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 16, 2017!

The count area is a 24-km diameter circle, centered on Rideau Ferry, and includes Perth and Smiths Falls. The Rideau Ferry count is one of three local counts sponsored by MVFN (the other two MVFN-sponsored counts are centered around Carleton Place and the Lanark Highlands). All are welcome to join in this count, which is one of many bird counts being held as part of the 118th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). Started in 1900, the Christmas Bird Count is North America’s longest-running Citizen Science project. Counts happen in over 2000 localities throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Small teams of birders are assigned a specific area within the count circle area. New birders for the count, experienced birders, and enthusiastic beginners; all are welcome to join one of the count teams. You do not need to be an expert, but it helps to know the local birds. You will be placed on a team with experienced birders. Residents of the area who have bird feeders are encouraged to register for the feeder count by contacting the Count Coordinator Rosemary Anderson and sending in observations of December 16. Often feeders cannot be seen from the road and have large numbers of over-wintering birds present which need to be counted! Detailed instructions will be sent when you join the count.

Registration information: To register, or for more information, please contact Count Coordinator Rosemary Anderson at or 613-700-9233.

Information collected by citizen scientists on this count, along with the data from thousands of other CBCs in Canada, is submitted to Bird Studies Canada and used to track the health of wintering bird populations and contributes much needed information to various research and conservation efforts, including those monitoring the effects of climate change on bird populations.

Results from the day’s observations will be collected at the count-in/potluck supper in Perth, to which all field and feeder observers are cordially invited!

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday December 16, 2017!

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NOTE: the new date for this planned event did not reach the level of registration required, and has been cancelled.

Paddle the creeks and bays of Mississippi Lake and take part in year two of this project. Working in conjunction with the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) and the Mississippi Lakes Association (MLA), we will take part in a survey of invasive aquatic plants.

Our aim is to canoe all seven creeks which flow into the lake, collect samples of five known aquatic invasive species and report back to the MVCA headquarters.

Date: Saturday, July 30th (rain date August 13)

Time: 8:30 AM – approx. 2:30 PM

Meet at: Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority headquarters, 10970 Highway 7, Carleton Place, for donuts and coffee, orientation and reporting kits. Crews will be assigned to a specific creek area.

Bring: You will need the usual required canoe equipment, lunch, a pen or pencil, sunscreen etc

To register, or for more information please contact David Garcia at  613-256-6299  or via email  If you have a canoe and need a partner, or if you would like to partner with someone who has a canoe, let us know at the same time.

Schedule:

  • 8:30 AM meet at MVCA for coffee and donuts (MLA has budget for this)
  • Presentation on Invasive Species by MVCA specialists, information about how to fill out forms, etc.
  • Handing out of kits, directions to paddling access points, etc.
  • Leave between 9:15 and 9:30 AM
  • Return to MVCA around 1:15- 1:30 PM, have a late lunch (bring your own)
  • Staff will sort through the results and do a quick summary presentation of results.
  • End around 2:30 PM
  • A comprehensive report will be written up and sent to all participants, and a copy will be published in Mississippi Belle Online
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NOTE: This is an Ottawa Field Naturalists Club event, but MVFN members are invited to register and help out! This is an especially “Kid-Friendly” Event!

Date: Saturday July 8th 2017 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (rain date Sunday 9 July)

Leaders: Jeff Skevington and Peter Hall

Meet:  in the parking lot at the intersection of Dwyer Hill Road and March Road (NE of Almonte).

Please call Jeff Skevington Friday evening at 613-720-2862 if in doubt about the weather or for specific questions regarding this event. Similar to Christmas Bird Counts, this event is an all-day survey of in a 24 km diameter circle. The count area is centred on Manion Corners (SW of Ottawa) and includes several important butterfly areas such as the Long Swamp and the Burnt Lands alvar. No experience is necessary – we will put teams together on site and match up people so that everyone has a chance to learn from the experts. If you have binoculars and a butterfly net, please bring them along. Butterflies may be captured for identification and release. Rubber boots are recommended, as some of the sites have a lot of poison ivy.  It is an all-day event so bring your lunch.

Pot-luck and Count-in: We plan to meet at 6:00 p.m. after the count for a compilation and potluck dinner at the Allisons’ home at 561 Wolf Grove Road, about 2.6 km west of Almonte. Please bring along some food to share plus your own drinks. We hope that everyone can make it to the compilation, as it will be a lot of fun; however, if you can’t, we will get your data in the afternoon before you leave. OFNC has generously offered to pay the count fees for participants to support publication of the data.

The butterfly count is an annual OFNC event. Working in groups or alone, participants patrol the same location – a 24-km diameter circle centred on Manion Corners.  Data are submitted to the North American Butterfly Association.

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