59th Calgary Christmas Bird Count Results

Thanks to everyone who participated in the 59th Calgary Christmas Bird count, December 19, 2010. Almost 200 people took part in this year’s count, with 102 feeder-watchers and 93 birders in the field.

Special thanks go to Lenora and Dick Flynn for hosting a most enjoyable wind-up party, to Donna and Arthur Wieckowski, Bob Lefebvre and John McFaul for helping with the compilation, to Jean Moore and her team captains for organising the feeder-watch part of the count, and to Terry Korolyk, John McFaul and Jim Washbrook for helping to organise the teams in the field.

Conditions on count-day were cool but very pleasant. The temperature remained in a narrow range between minus 15 deg and minus 13 deg, and light snow fell during part of the morning. Snow cover was around 20 cm, probably deeper in places. Glenmore Reservoir was fully frozen and the Bow and Elbow Rivers were more than half-frozen.

Birders in the field put in a total of 205 party-hours, 70 percent on foot, covering 230 km on foot and 881 km by car.

Some count highlights were:
63 species recorded, the same as last year, compared with an average of 65 species for the past 20 years. Two additional species have been recorded in count week so far, Gull sp. and American Dipper.

43 705 individual birds were counted, which is 15 percent below the average for the past ten years. For the more common species, more were at below-average levels than above-average, perhaps reflecting mortality due to the recent periods of cold .

Unusual species (recorded in two or less years in the prior ten): Cackling Goose (5), Trumpeter Swan (2), Mourning Dove (1), Black-backed Woodpecker (1) – second count record) and Purple Finch (at least 1).

Record numbers for: Trumpeter Swan (2), Bald Eagle (30), Hairy Woodpecker (32), Common Raven (364) and House Finch (1551).

High Counts (more than three-times the prior ten-year average) for three regularly recorded species: White-throated Sparrow (6), Snow Bunting (9) and Red Crossbill (195).

Low counts (less than one-third the prior ten-year average) for five regularly recorded species: Wood Duck (3), Common Goldeneye (404), European Starling (65), Cedar Waxwing (3) and Common Redpoll (55).

Eight “missing” species (seen on count-day in six or more years in the prior ten, but missed this year): American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Redhead, Harlequin Duck, Gyrfalcon, American Dipper and American Tree Sparrow.

Species seen by only one route (All feeder-watchers counted as one route): Trumpeter Swan, Wood Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Hooded Merganser, Prairie Falcon, American Coot, Killdeer, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Black-backed Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, Cedar Waxwing, Purple Finch and American Goldfinch.
Species seen by only two routes (All feeder-watchers counted as one route): Barrow’s Goldeneye, Ruffed Grouse, Red-tailed Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Mountain Chickadee and White-throated Sparrow.

List of species recorded on count-day:

Cackling Goose, 5; Canada Goose, 9,705; Trumpeter Swan, 2; Wood Duck, 3; Mallard, 12,044; Greater Scaup, 2; Lesser Scaup, 1; Bufflehead, 114; Common Goldeneye, 404; Barrow’s Goldeneye, 22; Hooded Merganser, 4; Common Merganser, 37; Gray Partridge, 64; Ring-necked Pheasant, 9; Ruffed Grouse, 2; Bald Eagle, 30; Sharp-shinned Hawk, 7; Cooper’s Hawk, 3; Northern Goshawk, 3; Red-tailed Hawk, 2; Rough-legged Hawk, 2; Merlin, 19; Prairie Falcon, 2; American Coot, 1; Killdeer, 4; Rock Pigeon, 1,777; Mourning Dove, 1; Great Horned Owl, 4; Belted Kingfisher, 1; Downy Woodpecker, 142; Hairy Woodpecker, 32; Black-backed Woodpecker, 1; Northern Flicker, 108; Pileated Woodpecker, 3; Northern Shrike, 1; Blue Jay, 54; Black-billed Magpie, 1,870; American Crow, 44; Common Raven, 364; Black-capped Chickadee, 1,476; Mountain Chickadee, 2; Boreal Chickadee, 20; Red-breasted Nuthatch, 287; White-breasted Nuthatch, 58; Brown Creeper, 8; Golden-crowned Kinglet, 12; Townsend’s Solitaire, 4; American Robin, 89; European Starling, 65; Bohemian Waxwing, 4,104; Cedar Waxwing, 3; White-throated Sparrow, 6; Dark-eyed Junco,134; Snow Bunting, 9; Pine Grosbeak, 28; Purple Finch, 1+; House Finch, 1,551; Red Crossbill, 195; White-winged Crossbill, 89; Common Redpoll, 55; Pine Siskin, 460; American Goldfinch, 1; and House Sparrow, 8,155

Total species 63. Total individual birds 43,705.

Phil Cram

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