Bird count difficult this year
Due to freezing rain, poor visibility, and treacherous roads, the annual Christmas Bird Count, held throughout the district on Dec. 15, turned out to be a difficult day.
“Four teams had to quit by mid-morning because of dangerous driving conditions,” noted Ilka Milne.
“If all teams could have been out counting for longer in clearer weather, we might have reached a record number of species,” Milne added.
She noted since there still was open water and the snow cover was thin at the time, it may have been possible to spot ducks and hawks.
Milne said there had been hopes of rescheduling the event, but they weren’t able to co-ordinate people around favourable weather.
As such, she made the decision to go with the Dec. 15 results.
She added the Varied Thrush was a new species for the local bird count and that the Barred Owl was a nice find, too.
“[We] probably would have missed it if we’d been driving,” Milne noted.
“We spotted it while walking down an icy road.”
The European Starling (330) was the most common bird found this time around, followed by the Common Redpoll (139), the Common Raven (115), the Pine Grosbeak (103), the Black capped Chickadee (93), the Rock Dove (93), and the American Crow (73).
At the other end of the spectrum, just one Ruffed Grouse, Barred Owl, Northern Shrike, Snow Bunting, and Varied Thrush was spotted.
Two Common Grackle, two Hoary Redpoll, two Pine Siskin, three Downy Woodpecker, three Hairy Woodpecker, three White-Breasted Nuthatch, and four Pileated Woodpecker also were reported.
Rounding out this year’s count were the Mallard (66), the Evening Grosbeak (50), the Bald Eagle (34), the Sharp-tailed Grouse (15), the Black-Billed Magpie (15), the Blue Jay (14), the House Sparrow (13), the Gray Jay (11), the Red-Breasted Nuthatch (11), the Canada Goose (eight), and the Common Goldeneye (eight).