Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Rideau Ferry Christmas Bird Count

Rideau Ferry Christmas  Bird Count

Press Release

Alison Bentley

On Saturday December 17, 2016 birders from Perth, Smiths Falls, and from as far away as Kingston and Ottawa, will be participating in the 117th Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC).  The Rideau Ferry CBC area is a 24 km diameter circle centered on Rideau Ferry and covers the town of Perth, most of Smith’s Falls, Murphy’s Point Provincial Park, several conservation areas, and a variety of habitats ranging from open fields and dense woodlands to wetlands and lakes.

Count organizers are looking not only for experienced birders to help cover one of the count sections but also for enthusiastic participants who would like to come out and learn more about which birds choose to stay with us over the winter.  If you are interested in becoming part of a field team, please contact Compiler Alison Bentley at  or 613-273-4428.

We are especially looking for people within the count circle who have bird feeders and can keep an extra eye on them on December 17; full instructions will be provided.  The Feeder Coordinator Judy Buehler, would love to hear from you if you can help in this regard.  Feeders are a very important part of the survey as frequently birds show up at these sheltered winter food sources that are not recorded elsewhere in the circle.  We had very few reports from feeders in 2015 so are particularly anxious to hear from potential feeder watchers this year.  If you don’t have email, please call Judy at 613-264-8856.

Results from the day’s observations will be compiled at a potluck supper in Perth, to which all field and feeder observers are invited, and then sent to Bird Studies Canada and the National Audubon Society.  Christmas Bird Counts take place all over the Western Hemisphere and are vital in providing an accurate assessment of the health of wintering bird populations.  The over 76,000 volunteers taking part in the counts can track wintering bird populations on a much larger scale than scientists alone can hope to do.  Data collected from the counts has been used for a multiplicity of research studies and to monitor climate change.  As the Audubon report on the 116th count states: “The cumulative efforts of all CBC participants over the past five decades has enabled Audubon and other groups to document how species have shifted their early-winter ranges in the face of a changing climate”.

If you can help us to do our part in this important bird monitoring initiative, please contact one of the coordinators listed above.  Looking forward to seeing you on December 17!