Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley
Mississippi River at Pakenham

Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count

Local birders took part in 65thCarleton Place Christmas Bird Count

By Iain Wilkes

On December 27th local birders took part in the Audubon Society’s 116th Christmas Bird Count (CBC) supported within Canada by Bird Studies Canada, and sponsored locally by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN). 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 14 and January 5.   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.

Mary Robinson scans for birds from Drummond Road during the CP Christmas bird count. “It was tough day for photos with all the freezing mist. Many birds were sheltering in trees and shrubs.” Photo by Howard Robinson.

Mary Robinson scans for birds from Drummond Road during the CP Christmas bird count. “It was tough day for photos with all the freezing mist. Many birds were sheltering in trees and shrubs.” Photo by Howard Robinson.

Despite the freezing rain, sleet and snow 41 field volunteers and 22 feeder observers spent Sunday, December 27th participating in the Carleton Place CBC.  At first look the 6700 individual birds and 47 species of birds recorded appear to indicate an average year for our CBC day, but it was anything but average.  The mild weather that continued into late 2015 brought with it species that are usually long gone south as well as two new species for our area. Record flocks of Canada Geese continued in our area both in the corn fields and on the river with a total of 1801 individuals.  Within one flock was a single Snow Goose, not unusual during spring and fall migration, but one has never been seen before on count day.  As well two Sandhill Crane were found in a corn field west of Ashton another new species for the day.  Record numbers of Bald Eagle (6), Bufflehead (2), Pileated Woodpecker (16), Hooded Mergansers (13), Mallards (59) as well as Dark-eyed Juncos (275) were found during the day.

A Blue Jay photographed during the Christmas bird count week and plentiful on count day during the Carleton Place Christmas bird count. Photo by Ken Allison

A Blue Jay photographed during the Christmas bird count week and plentiful on count day during the Carleton Place Christmas bird count. Photo by Ken Allison

Notable once again this year and in common with other southern Ontario count areas, was the near complete absence of northern birds, including very low numbers of Redpolls, Siskins, and Snow Buntings as well as no Pine Grosbeak or Golden-crowned Kinglets.   The numbers of raptors other than the Bald Eagles were also low with only 1 Great-horned Owl reported.

A Purple Finch photographed during the Christmas bird count week and plentiful on count day during the Carleton Place Christmas bird count. Photo by Ken Allison

A Purple Finch photographed during the Christmas bird count week and plentiful on count day during the Carleton Place Christmas bird count. Photo by Ken Allison

Many thanks go to all of 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 trade stories of their day.  The Carleton Place CBC is organized by Iain Wilkes and supported by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists club, which also sponsors the Lanark Highlands and Rideau Ferry Christmas bird counts. A detailed list of data for the Carleton Place Christmas bird count is posted at mvfn.ca.

Happy New Year and Best Wishes for 2016!

A table of data for the count is posted here. Table legend: N= New species;  R= Record high count; T= tied an old record.

 

 

 

 

Press Release

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!

 

 

Carleton Place and area birders to join in counting birds during the 113th Audubon Christmas Bird Count

Birders and nature enthusiasts in Carleton Place and area will soon join birders across the western hemisphere and participate in Audubon’s longest-running wintertime tradition, the Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). The Carleton Place bird count will be held this year on Thursday, December 27th. The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) will once again sponsor this bird count. The count area is a 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 December 30.th Details for both counts are 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 across North America.” Last year, during the 2011 Carleton Place Christmas bird count over 50 volunteers spent the day observing birds in the 24 km diameter circle centered at the town bridge; resulting in the recording of over 8100 birds and 48 different species. The first Audubon bird count in Carleton Place took place in 1944.

The tradition of these CBC’s 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.

Iain Wilkes is the organizer and official compiler for Bird Studies Canada for the December 27th Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count (which also includes the area of Almonte, Appleton and Ashton). Georgina Doe will coordinate all of the feeder counts. 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. You will need a pair of binoculars.

For more information or to register, please contact Iain Wilkes at 613-257-1126 or Home residents with bird feeders can also help by listing all birds at your feeder or in your yard on the count day. If you are interested in helping out by counting birds at your feeder, please register with Georgina Doe at 613- 257-2103. At the end of the day, participants on the count teams 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. We look forward to the December 27th count and best of the season to all.

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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