Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count 2012

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 Details for both counts are posted on the 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.