Local birders get set for 116th Audubon Christmas Bird Count
NOTE: The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists sponsor three area Christmas Bird Counts: the Carleton Place CBC, the Lanark Highlands CBC and the newly reorganized Rideau Ferry CBC. Details for the Carleton Place count are included below at the end of this article. Link to the Rideau Ferry Count details here; details for the Lanark Highlands CBC will be posted soon; the dates and key contact info are on our interactive calendar for December.
Birders and nature enthusiasts in Carleton Place, Almonte 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 Sunday, December 27th and it is sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) 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.
A Great Horned Owl, seen during last year’s Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count. Photo Howard Robinson.
Thousands of individuals will participate in counts throughout the Americas and beyond between December 14, 2015 and January 5, 2016. “Each CBC volunteer observer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation.” Bird Studies Canada and 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 2014 Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count over 60 volunteers spent the day observing birds resulting in the recording of over 5400 birds and 47 different species.
The CBC tradition began over a century ago when a conservation minded ornithologist, Frank Chapman, along with others, were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. On Christmas Day in 1900, Frank Chapman proposed a new holiday tradition to take the place of the traditional Christmas Day “Side Hunt” competition to shoot the most birds and small mammals. Instead, Chapman proposed a “Christmas Bird Census” to identify, count, and record as many birds as they could, 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; everyone is welcome. You will need a pair of binoculars. As well, residents with bird feeders within a count area can 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 or 613-250-0722. 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 Community Room upstairs at Mitchell’s Independent in Carleton Place on McNeely Avenue for the count-in as well as refreshments.
Best of the Season to All!
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!
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).
MVFN sponsors two Christmas Bird Counts, the Carleton Place Count (December 27) and the Lanark Highlands Count (December 30).
We need helpers for both of these counts.
Here’s an opportunity to shake off the excesses from Christmas and, become a citizen scientist by helping to record our bird population in these two areas. If you have counted before, please consider coming out again this year. If you are a novice, come out anyway as the extra pairs of eyes are invaluable. In both cases, we will place you with a team leader, one who knows birds.
Dress warmly, bring a hot thermos, and a lunch (unless joining a group lunch in a local pub). Don’t forget your binoculars.
There is a cost of $5 per person to help defray cost of compiling results.
If you can’t come out, will you agree to count all of the birds that come to your feeders that day?
For the Carleton Place Count (includes Almonte), Saturday, Dec. 27, contact organizer Iain Wilkes at 613-257-1126 or
For Carleton Place feeder counting (includes Almonte), contact Georgina Doe at 613-.57-2103 or .
For the Lanark Highlands Count on Tuesday, Dec. 30, contact organizer
Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or .
For Lanark Highlands feeder counting, contact Marj Montgomery at 613-259-3078.
At the end of the day, Carleton Place count teams return to the Community Room upstairs at Steve’s Independent in Carleton Place for the count-in as well as refreshments and the Lanark Highlands count teams return to the Nature Lovers Book Store.
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
January 2, 2008
by Mike Jaques
Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count – Results 2007
Links to: Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count – Results 2007 (Microsoft Excel or Viewer required to view).
The 64th annual Christmas Bird Count took place on Tuesday December 27th 2007. It was one of over 2000 counts taking place throughout the Americas over the Christmas period. The count area is a circle of 15 miles diameter centred on the bridge over the Mississippi River in Carleton Place and including Almonte, Appleton and Ashton.
The temperature was mild, between -3°C and -1°C. The day started cloudy but by 11 a.m. it started snowing and the snow kept up for the rest of the day, keeping the birds hunkered down and making visibility difficult. There was about a foot of snow on the ground and cold weather before Christmas had frozen Mississippi Lake and River, although the recent milder weather had caused parts of the river and some creeks to open up.
The number of species seen was 42, which is below the ten-year average of 43. The number of birds counted was 5011, which is the second-lowest total in the last ten years. The all-time highs are 50 species and 8855 birds. No new species for the count were tallied, but there was a record high count of Pileated Woodpeckers (15). This year there were more birds down from the north than last year, including Common Redpolls, a Hoary Redpoll, Bohemian Waxwings, Pine Grosbeaks and some Evening Grosbeaks although not in the numbers we have seen in the past. The lower numbers of our usual winter birds were probably due in part to the bad weather on count day.
This year the count was organized by Iain Wilkes for the first time. At the end of the day the field observers gathered at Mexicali Rosa’s to see the field results displayed. Georgina Doe organized the feeder counts and Mike Jaques compiled the final results. The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists sponsored the count and 28 field observers and 31 feeder operators took part.
A list of all species seen and their numbers follows:
Canada Goose 9
Common Goldeneye 62
Common Merganser 8
Sharp-shinned Hawk 3
Cooper’s Hawk 2
Northern Goshawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 5
Ruffed Grouse 11
Wild Turkey 158
Herring Gull 2
Rock Pigeon 448
Mourning Dove 276
Barred Owl 1
Downy Woodpecker 64
Hairy Woodpecker 61
Pileated Woodpecker 15
Northern Shrike 7
Blue Jay 317
American Crow 346
Common Raven 6
Black-capped Chickadee 830
Red-breasted Nuthatch 7
White-breasted Nuthatch 98
Brown Creeper 3
European Starling 126
Bohemian Waxwing 525
Cedar Waxwing 24
American Tree Sparrow 41
Song Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 88
Snow Bunting 150
Northern Cardinal 63
Pine Grosbeak 31
Purple Finch 6
Common Redpoll 751
Hoary Redpoll 1
Pine Siskin 20
American Goldfinch 264
Evening Grosbeak 100
House Sparrow 78