Christmas bird count ready to take wing

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer

Nothing says Christmas like bird watching, and if you feel the same way then the Rainy River Valley Field Naturalists (RRVFN) are looking for your help.

The RRVFN hold their annual Christmas bird count in December each year, and this year’s event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, December 18.

Everyone is invited to take part in the bird count. To do so, those with bird feeders can set up and count the numbers and different species of birds that come to the feeder during the day. The totals are then submitted to RRVFN president Ilka Milne.

For those who are interested in taking a more active role during the bird count, volunteers can sign up to ride with a club member as a spotter. COVID protocols must be followed in order to ride along.

The RRVFN website notes that over 2000 counts are held across Canada and the U.S. each year, with similar initiatives undertaken across the Rainy River District in Atikokan, Morson and Rainy River. The count is carried out in the same 24km diameter circle each year in order to track the growth or shrinkage of bird populations over time.

According to Milne, last year’s count had 18 participants split between seven field teams and six feeder watchers. Between all of the participants, the RRVFN count logged 28 different bird species and 1627 individuals. The most populous bird in last year’s count was the black-capped chickadee, the rotund staple of every backyard feeder. 331 black-capped chickadees were counted in 2020.

If you would like to take part in the Rainy River Valley Field Naturalist’s 2021 Christmas bird count, call or email Ilka Milne at 807-274-2988 and Historical results for different regions in the district can be found at the RRVFN website at