Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Christmas Bird Count 2003 Yields Bald Eagles

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
Submitted by:  Cliff Bennett
Friday, January 2, 2004

Christmas Bird Count 2003 Yields Bald Eagles

Results Christmas Bird Count 2003 

Bald EagleFinding and listing two bald eagles on the 59th Annual Carleton Place Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) was well overdue. The large raptor had been spotted several times during the past few years during the count week but never before on count day. One was listed by the Pip Winters team on the Mississippi Lake shore in the Scotch Corners area while the other appeared to the Lynda Bennett team near Upper Perth Road in Lanark Highlands.

The Carleton Place CBC, conducted in one of over two thousand count circles in North and Central America and the Caribbean, was held on Saturday, December 27 in Spring-like conditions with no snow on the ground except in the bush, streams running in full flood and the Mississippi Lake more open than usual. Thirty-four field observers and thirty-three feeder counters took part in the local exercise and listed forty-four different species (above average) and 5829 individual birds (below average).

In addition to the first registry of the bald eagles, record high counts were made for Canada Goose, 318 (previous high 101) and Cooper’s Hawk, three (previous high only one). Also found to tie previous records were one Merlin, first listed in 1999 and one Northern Hawk-Owl, first found on a count day in 1965. Birders looking for the Hawk-Owl on Old Union Hall Road in Ramsay the next day, found American Robins, Red-winged Blackbirds and White-winged Crossbills, which were listed as found during the count week. Last year, 338 robins were found on count day, but none this year.

The complete list for the count is as follows:

Canada Goose, 318

Mallard, 1

Common Goldeneye, 30

Common Mergansers, 32

Bald Eagle, 2

Cooper’s Hawk, 3

Red-tailed Hawk, 14

Rough-legged Hawk, 10

Merlin, 1

Ruffed Grouse, 23

Wild Turkey, 34

Ring-billed Gull, 1

Herring Gulls, 29

Great Black-backed Gull, 1

Rock Pigeons, 512

Mourning Doves, 207

Northern Hawk-owl, 1

Downy Woodpecker, 55

Hairy Woodpecker, 62

Pileated Woodpecker, 11

Northern Shrike, 10

Blue Jays, 287

American Crow, 470

Common Raven, 14

Black-capped Chickadees, 1041

Red-breasted Nuthatch, 5

White-breasted Nuthatch 115,

Brown Creeper, 3

Starlings, 663

Bohemian Waxwings, 53

Cedar Waxwings, 2

American Tree Sparrows, 173

Dark-eyed Junco, 65

Snow Bunting, 326

Cardinals, 40

Brown-headed Cowbird, 1

Pine Grosbeak, 1

Purple Finch, 5

House Finch, 9

Common Redpoll, 732

Pine Siskin, 1

American Goldfinch, 233

Evening Grosbeaks, 66

House Sparrow, 169

Participants on the count gathered at the end of the day in Kelly’s Loft Restaurant and Pub, Highway 29, to watch the results being listed and to share experiences and refreshments. The CBC was sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists and organized by Cliff Bennett. Georgina Doe, Carleton Place, assisted by Libby Goddard, Almonte, coordinated the feeder counts and results were compiled and forwarded to Bird Studies Canada by Mike Jaques, Beckwith.