Cranbrook birders take part in 120th Audobon Christmas Bird Count

Daryl Calder

Last Saturday, December 28, field counters met at Elizabeth Lake to begin the 120th Audubon Christmas Bird Count within the Cranbrook circle.

It was a good day overall, recording a total number of species of 52 (including owls), an above average result. Total number of individuals, however, was low. In addition to the seven hours of daytime observation, some nocturnal ‘Owling’ produced a Barred Owl and Northern Saw-whet Owl. Owling is a valuable aspect of the count, but is not conducted each year due to the availability of qualified observers.

There were 18 field counters and 12 feeder watchers involved in the Cranbrook count.

Soon it will be time for the Kimberley CBC, on Saturday, January 4. Here is an excellent opportunity to start your New Year species list, or, coincidentally, your new Decade list.

‘Count Week’ for Kimberley, began on January 1. Here, we have an opportunity to observe species, which, despite our best efforts, are missed on ‘Count Day’ but are certainly in the area.

Final results will be published on the Naturalists website in the New Year. Check rockymountainnaturalists.org and tab Christmas Bird Counts.

Last week, in Cranbrook, four teams set out to explore designated quadrants. These results can be seen at rockymountainnaturalists.org – blog. This year, our compiler produced a more sophisticated listing, which shows more detail, comparing abundance or lack of recorded species. Common Mergansers, Wild Turkeys and Red-breasted Nuthatches were significantly more abundant, while Common Goldeneye, Clark’s Nutcracker, American Crow, Townsend’s Solitaire, European Starling, Bohemian Waxwing, Dark-eyed Junco, Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, Evening Grosbeak and House Sparrow were scarce. Several regulars were not observed, including Bufflehead, Rough-legged Hawk, Mourning Dove, Northern Pygmy-Owl, White-breasted Nuthatch and American Robin. Perhaps, some of these will be recorded during ‘Count Week’.

Bufflehead, Northern Goshawk were spotted during Count Week, but missed on Count Day.

Explanations for abundance or scarcity are varied, and continue to be food for thought.

Speaking of food, each count is followed by either a pot-luck or a restaurant meal. Here we tally the observations, describe interesting sightings, and discuss the wide range of topics concerning our feathered friends.

To participate in the field count, or to be a ‘feeder watcher’, please register in advance by contacting the compiler, Dianne Cooper, or filling out the form on our website rockymountainnaturalists.org Christmas Bird Counts.

Submitted by Daryl Calder on behalf of Rocky Mountain Naturalists.

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