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!