Large group of 65 area birders participate in Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count
By Iain Wilkes
On December 27th local birders took part in the Audubon Society’s 115th 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 the area on one specific day between December 16th 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.
Great Horned Owl photographed during the Carleton Place CBC. Photo by Howard Robinson
This year’s excellent turn out to conduct the Carleton Place count included 39 field volunteers and 26 feeder observers. Over 5440 individual birds were recorded during a day that was cloudy with sunny breaks and above average temperatures. This represented 47 different species of birds recorded. Highlights for this year were record high numbers of White-breasted Nuthatch, Ravens and Pileated Woodpeckers seen and a single Great-Blue Heron found in the marsh on Hwy 7 at the edge of town. Notable and in common with other southern Ontario count areas, was the near complete absence of northern birds, including very low numbers of Redpolls, Siskins, Crossbills and Snow Buntings as well as no Bohemian Waxwings, Pine Grosbeaks or Golden-crowned Kinglets. One Snowy Owl arrived early in December and is still resident on the edge of Carleton Place. Other Owls included 1 Great Horned and 2 Barred Owls, as well as two Saw-whet Owls heard during the count week. Other raptors included 14 Red-tailed and 2 Rough-legged Hawks, plus 1 Bald Eagle, 1 Northern Harrier, 2 Cooper’s and 1 Merlin. The complete list of species number is posted here: CP CBC Records 2014
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 when 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 as part of their ongoing conversation programs.
Happy New Year and Best Wishes for 2015