Friday, December 26, 2008

Edmonton bird count for the birds, lowest tally in 23 years.

I can't imagine what goldfinches and a robin would be doing in Edmonton at this time of year. Maybe some bird watcher was a bit high having had a bit too much to try and keep warm. The birds had more sense and stayed wherever they could keep warm.
Here there were only a few birds as well. The house sparrows as usual but also redpolls and some black capped chickadees. We have a resident squirrel who is still active and raids the feeder almost every day.

Edmonton's birds of a feather count together for lowest tally in 23 years

Hanneke Brooymans
Edmonton Journal
Friday, December 26, 2008
'Twas the weekend before Christmas, when all through the city, not a creature was stirring, not even a house sparrow.
OK, so there were a few house sparrows spotted during Edmonton's Christmas Bird Count this past Sunday--4,158 to be exact. But overall, Edmonton's birds behaved like humans do when it gets bitterly cold--they hunkered down in the warmest spot they could find and didn't move around much.
That made it challenging for the 385 volunteers involved in the count to spot them. Particularly since the vast majority of those volunteers were watching bird feeders from the cozy confines of their homes, with only a hardy few outside beating bushes.
Ultimately, 29,042 birds of 49 species were counted, the lowest number of species tallied in 23 years. The combination of less active birds and fewer participants this year meant some species likely got missed, said Kim Blomme, who compiled this year's results.
Some of the more common species were relatively scarce, too. Even the tough black-billed magpie was at its lowest number (1,698) since 1996.
A few species spotted in Edmonton appear to have made dubious decisions about where to spend their winters. A lone varied thrush could have followed its kind to California, where they're normally known to spend the chillier months of the year, said Blomme.
Four American goldfinches spotted at one feeder may also be kicking themselves around now.
Usually the species heads for the southern U. S. or Mexico at this time of year, she added.
The Christmas Bird Count is conducted in Canada, the United States and 19 countries in the Western Hemisphere. Birds are tallied over a 24-hour period in early winter in hundreds of count circles, each 24 kilometres in diameter.
The purpose of the count is to track the long-term health and status of bird populations.
Edmonton stands out on the continent in its enthusiasm for the count, frequently having more participants than any other count circle. Even though the number of participants was down this year, the city will probably still top the chart in North America, said Dave Ealey, who has frequently compiled the bird count results in previous years.
Other bird count sightings, presented in a Twelve Days of Christmas form, included: - One varied thrush - Two bald eagles - Three ruffed grouse - Four northern saw-whet owls - Five American robins - Six great horned owls - Seven northern goshawks - Almost eight hoary redpolls (there were seven counted) - Nineladiesdancing(just kidding, that's not a bird species) - 10 purple finches - 11 common goldeneyes - 12 European starlings

1 comment:

An Avenue Homesteader said...

I am writing an article for the Rat Creek Press, a community newspaper in the Alberta Ave area, and am writing about house sparrows. Articles I've read from the states strongly discourage the feeding and housing of house sparrows... calling them 'rats with wings' and such things. to your knowledge, in Edmonton, has the house sparrow done serious damage to our native bird populations? If so, which species have been most affected?? Thanks for your help with some local info!