Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count: the more the merrier, counting birds!

Thursday December 27, 2018

NOTE:  In addition to the December 27th Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count, several other counts are taking place in the local community. The 16th Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count takes place Sunday, December 30 and is centered on Watson’s Corners, with the circle taking in Brightside to the north, most of Dalhousie Lake to the west, south to within a kilometer of Balderson and east to include Middleville. Count organizer is Marilyn Barnett:    or 613-259-2269. Follow this link to the Macnamara Field Naturalists’ Club for further details of the Pakenham-Arnprior Christmas Bird Count which will take place December 26th.

Birders and nature enthusiasts in Carleton Place and surrounding areas can join citizen scientists throughout the Americas and participate in the Audubon Society’s longest-running wintertime tradition, the 119th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). The Carleton Place CBC will be held this year on Thursday, 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.  Details for Christmas Bird Counts can be found on the Audubon website.

Thousands of individuals participate in counts throughout the Americas and beyond between December 14, 2018 and January 5, 2019. “Each CBC volunteer observer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation. Bird Studies Canada and its partner at the National Audubon Society in the United States rely on data from the CBC database to monitor bird populations. Last year, during the 2017 Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count, 60 volunteers spent the day observing birds resulting in the recording of over 5700 birds and 42 different species.

Cardinal. photo Susan Wilkes

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.

The first Audubon bird count in Carleton Place took place in 1944!

Great Horned Owl. photo Howard Robinson

Join a team or count at your feeder

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 613-250-0722 or   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 Carleton Place Library, 101 Beckwith St., for the count-in as well as refreshments and snacks.

Best of the Season to All,

Iain Wilkes

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Records set for Pileated Woodpeckers, Barred Owls and others on cold Christmas Bird Count day

2018 Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count

On December 27th, 38 hearty field and 20 feeder observers participated in the 68th Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count.  It was a cold day with sun in the morning and cloud in the afternoon.

 

Wild Turkeys on Rae Side Road, photo Howard Robinson

 

This years count is very close to our 10 year average with over 5400 individuals and 45 species.  Despite this we had a number of records set and/or tied for:

Mallards at 68

Wild Turkeys at 498 – keep setting a new record every year

Coopers Hawk 3 – tying the old record.  One lived in my backyard on count day enjoying the Starlings for snacks

Snowy Owls 3 – tied the old record, all close to Hwy 7

Barred Owls 3 – a new record

Pileated Woodpecker 18 – a new record

Red-bellied Woodpecker 1 – tied the old record

White-breasted Nuthatch 176 – a new record

Complete list at http://mvfn.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Carleton-Place-CBC-Count-Day-totals-2018.pdf

Evening Grosbeak, photo Ken Allison

Kestrel, photo Michel Gauthier

We also had a hand full of Rough-Legged and Red-tailed Hawks, as well as 1 Kestral.  After several years of Juncos being at record levels their numbers collapsed.  Handfuls of Pine and Evening Grosbeaks as well as Redpolls and Siskins were seen.  Waxwings were back in abundance after few to none for several years, with 630 Bohemians and 188 Cedars seen.  As always the Bohemians maintained their coolness by wearing berets, smoking Gaulois and discussing Proust.

Bohemian Waxwings, photo Howard Robinson

Barred Owl, photo Ken Allison

 

At the end of the day the count in was conducted at the CP Library with refreshments and snacks provided by the MVFN social committee.

Happy Year’s End to all and best wishes for 2019.

Cheers,

Iain Wilkes

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