Recent Media Coverage

Christmas Bird Count Volunteers Sought

December 12, 2014

By Dick Mathison
Kingston Herald

The Christmas Bird Count, initiated by American ornithologist Frank Chapman in 1900, is seeking volunteers to contribute to monitoring the status of resident and migratory birds across the Western Hemisphere.

No matter the skill level or age, those wishing to take part in the Ontario Christmas Bird Count can contact a local birding or nature club to offer their time to the count effort. This year’s count runs from December 14th to January 5th with Ontario Nature member groups coordinating more than 70 sessions. Other groups will also hold counts.

“The Christmas Bird Count is a fun tradition with an important goal – bird study and conservation,” says Anne Bell, director of conservation and education at Ontario Nature. “It’s great to see expert and novice birders working together to spot as many species as possible, regardless of the weather.”

The Ontario count is the longest-running wildlife census and a crucial part of Canada’s biodiversity monitoring database. Each citizen scientist who braves the snow, wind and cold to take part in a count contributes to the study and conservation of birds.

Over 4,000 people participated in 2013 and there were 110 total bird counts. Records show that a whopping 178 species and 1,094,937 individual birds were recorded in Ontario last year.

Highlights from last year included the following:

- Snow bunting was the sixth most abundant bird reported, reaching a record tally of 101,541 individuals.
- Participants of 58 counts recorded 284 snowy owls. By comparison, participants of 29 counts recorded 52 snowy owls the previous year.
- Common redpoll, pine siskin, crossbill and grosbeaks were absent or present in smaller-than-usual numbers in counts across southern Ontario.
- Pakenham-Arnprior count participants spotted 350 dark-eyed juncos, a new high for this species.
Ontario Nature’s Member Group Christmas Bird Counts in the Kingston area can be found online at the Ontario Nature website. (pdf)
Visit the Ontario Nature and Bird Studies Canada websites to find your local count.

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