January 15th, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 2
Crowsnest Pass Christmas Bird Count
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Photo courtesy of Raymond Toal
Birding Committee - Crowsnest Conservation Society
Greetings, all of you “closet bird watchers” out there! We held our annual Christmas Bird Count again last month, on December 27th. This year we were very pleased to have a few more people out and it was a lovely day, other than the wind.

For next year, if you are interested in being a feeder watcher or coming out with us, please contact Merilyn at birds@crowsnestconservation. ca. Also, if anyone would be interested in learning how to identify birds, we would love to have you come out and join us. That is the best way to learn…get out into nature and learn what we have around us!

When we count birds, we tally the birds only on the specified count day, but we can also include any birds seen 3 days prior to and 3 days following that date. We had a record number of species for this time of year, due partly to a record number of participants helping out, but due also to the weather, which had been a bit unseasonal. Whenever we have severe weather we can almost certainly count on seeing something out of the ordinary. One of our worst challenges, as all birders know, is the “plastic bag bird” seen clinging pathetically to barbed wire fences. Once we get our eyes retrained to not mistake these for our feathered friends, it makes the day a less stressful one.

The bird that was most numerous this year was the common goldeneye duck at 104 but we also had 2 very unusual species. One was a white-throated sparrow who seems to have forgotten to head south, and, if you can imagine, 4 yellow-headed blackbirds! There must be some sort of counseling for these misguided ones! We also had 9 northern shovelers, that are a new species for our Christmas count though we do see them here in summer. There were 2 bald eagles as well as a golden eagle to show that the raptors were also represented. There were the usual culprits such as blackcapped and mountain chickadees as well as blue jays, wild turkeys and Clark’s nutcrackers. By the end of January we should have the information entered at crowsnestconservation.ca so you can have all the information available.

Participants who joined us that day came from Calgary, Beaver Mines, North Burmis area, as well as residents of Crowsnest Pass. At the end of our day that began at 8:00 a.m., we met at a local restaurant where we enjoyed swapping stories of who saw what where and enjoying the camaraderie of another great day outdoors.
January 15th ~ Vol. 84 No. 2
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