Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Local Area Christmas Bird Counts

 

 

Announcement by Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

 

Once again it is the Audubon Christmas Bird Count season!  This is the 121th year of Christmas Bird Counts and there are three planned for our area; Rideau Ferry, Carleton Place, and Lanark Highlands. Birders and nature enthusiasts in the three CBCs and surrounding areas can join citizen scientists throughout the world and participate in the Audubon Society’s longest-running wintertime tradition, the Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC).  Thousands of individuals participate in counts beyond between December 14 and January 5 each year. Every CBC volunteer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation.  Birds Canada and its partner, the National Audubon Society in the United States rely on data from the CBC database to monitor bird populations.

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 proposed 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 suggested 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.   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.  This year will be very different as the counts will need to be done in line with all local health guidelines regards COVID 19.    For the count day it means first and foremost no one should participate unless they are showing no symptoms and feel safe doing a day in the field.  Secondly, field observers should only share the same vehicle with others if they are safe doing so. Thirdly all participates should have a mask available whenever required.  Finally, there will be no count meeting at the end of the day.  Instead each coordinator will arrange to distribute the results to participants. For more information or to register for the CBC at any of the 3 count circles please contact one of the following CBC Coordinators:

Count Date CBC Coordinator Contact
Rideau Ferry Dec 19th Alison Bentley
Carleton Place Dec 27th Iain Wilkes
Lanark Highlands Dec 30th Jeff Mills

Best of the Season to All

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2017 Rideau Ferry Christmas Bird Count

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Barred and Great-horned Owls, Trumpeter Swans, Purple Finches and Pileated Woodpeckers are a few of the many colourful bird species which may be seen or heard, and counted, by keen observers during the Rideau Ferry Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 16, 2017!

The count area is a 24-km diameter circle, centered on Rideau Ferry, and includes Perth and Smiths Falls. The Rideau Ferry count is one of three local counts sponsored by MVFN (the other two MVFN-sponsored counts are centered around Carleton Place and the Lanark Highlands). All are welcome to join in this count, which is one of many bird counts being held as part of the 118th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). Started in 1900, the Christmas Bird Count is North America’s longest-running Citizen Science project. Counts happen in over 2000 localities throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Small teams of birders are assigned a specific area within the count circle area. New birders for the count, experienced birders, and enthusiastic beginners; all are welcome to join one of the count teams. You do not need to be an expert, but it helps to know the local birds. You will be placed on a team with experienced birders. Residents of the area who have bird feeders are encouraged to register for the feeder count by contacting the Count Coordinator Rosemary Anderson and sending in observations of December 16. Often feeders cannot be seen from the road and have large numbers of over-wintering birds present which need to be counted! Detailed instructions will be sent when you join the count.

Registration information: To register, or for more information, please contact Count Coordinator Rosemary Anderson at or 613-700-9233.

Information collected by citizen scientists on this count, along with the data from thousands of other CBCs in Canada, is submitted to Bird Studies Canada and used to track the health of wintering bird populations and contributes much needed information to various research and conservation efforts, including those monitoring the effects of climate change on bird populations.

Results from the day’s observations will be collected at the count-in/potluck supper in Perth, to which all field and feeder observers are cordially invited!

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday December 16, 2017!

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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!

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Rideau Ferry Christmas Bird Count

Rideau Ferry Christmas Bird Count

The Rideau Ferry CBC will take place on Saturday December 19, 2015. The count area is a 24 km diameter circle centered on Rideau Ferry, and includes the town of Perth, most of Smith’s Falls, several conservation areas, and Murphy’s Point Provincial Park. A variety of habitats ranging from wetlands and open fields to dense woodlands are found within the circle. The Rideau Ferry CBC returns this year, not a new count, but newly sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists.

The Rideau Ferry CBC organizers are looking for additional field observers to go out with the field teams to count birds.  Both experienced and less experienced birders are welcome to help.  If you are interested in becoming part of a field team, please contact the Rideau Ferry CBC Coordinator Rosemary Anderson at or Compiler Alison Bentley at as soon as possible.

Also, if you live in the count circle and have bird feeders you can keep an close eye on for December 19, you can become part of the feeder count. Full instructions are provided.  Please contact Feeder Count Coordinator Judy Buehler at to register. Counting birds at feeders is a very important part of the survey, as often there are birds which show up at these winter food sources but are not recorded elsewhere.

Bald_Eagle (2)

 Bald Eagle, winter 2014. photo by Susan Wilkes

Results from the day’s observations will be compiled at a potluck supper in Perth and later will be 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 populations of birds.  The over 70,000 volunteers taking part in the counts can track bird populations on a much larger scale than scientists alone can hope to do.

 If you can help us do our part in this important citizen science project, please contact one of the coordinators listed above.  Looking forward to seeing you on December 19th!

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