Birding Competition Update

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

The eBird Calgary 2015 birding competition is off to a good start. We had some very mild weather in January, so most of the participants were able to get out and get their lists started. We also had some very good birds in the area, and many Calgary-area birders were able to see Wild Turkeys, a Steller’s Jay, and even a Cassin’s Finch.


Wild Turkey, Millarville area, January 9, 2015. Photo by Dan Arndt.

As of today there are 87 people registered in the competition, 74 adults and 13 youths. We will still take registrations up until March 31, and we hope to eventually have over 100 participants.

One of our goals is to increase the use of eBird in the Calgary area, so that there will be a more complete record of the local bird populations and movements. In 2014, there were only twenty-five birders who submitted more than 52 eBird checklists in Calgary county (an average of one checklist a week), so we should be able to get that number way up.

In January there were 1,244 eBird checklists submitted in Calgary county, compared to 579 in January 2014. (This year’s number includes all eBirders, not just those in the competition. The entire competition circle includes parts of three other counties as well. But these numbers give you an idea of the increased usage of eBird.) Calgary county was the #2 county in all of Canada for the number of eBird checklists submitted in January, behind only Metro Vancouver. During 2014, Calgary rarely cracked the top 25. That result may be partly due to the mild weather we had here in January, so we’ll have to see if we keep up our high standing. So far in February, Calgary is #5.

Here are the top three birders in the competition in each category for January:

Adults – Experienced

  1. Brian Elder            69 species
  2. Phil Cram              58
  3. Blake Weis            57

Adults – Beginner

  1. Darlene Shymkiw     40
  2. Aphtin Perratt          36
  3. Graeme Mudd          26
  4. Rachel MacKay         16


  1. Aidan Vidal          40
  2. Ethan Denton       36

We have announced the first of our short challenges for the year – Winter Bird List. Prizes will be awarded in each of the categories above for the most species recorded from January 1 to March 31. So don’t wait for spring to get out birding!


Steller’s Jay, Bowness neighbourhood, January 2, 2015. Photo by Dan Arndt.


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