Annual bird count soars for Christmas

Annual bird count soars for Christmas
Vernon MorningStar - Dec 31, 2015

The North Okanagan continues to be home to numerous bird species.

The North Okanagan Naturalists Club came across 20,171 birds from 89 species during the Christmas bird count.

“About 50 people took part in this year’s bird count for the Vernon area,” said Peter Blokker, event co-ordinator.

There were two trophies handed out for the Bird of the Day Award.

First place went to the Miyasaki team for its sighting of the short-eared owl. The runner-up went to the Bodkin/Loughridge team for its sighting of the Anna’s hummingbird.

Morning snow created some challenges participants during the bird count.

“As the day progressed, the weather improved and we finished the day with blue skies. The result is that the number of birds tallied was higher than we had originally expected,” said Claude Rioux, with the club.

Canada goose - 2,222
Trumpeter swan - 8
Wood duck - 1
Gadwall - 14
Mallard - 2,026
Northern shoveler - 35
Green-winged teal - 4
Canvasback - 8
Redhead - 47
Ring-necked duck - 8
Greater scaup - 65
Bufflehead -12
Common goldeneye - 24
Barrow’s goldeneye - 4
Hooded merganser - 38
Common merganser - 307
Ring-necked pheasant - 79
Ruffed grouse - 1
Wild turkey - 8
California quail - 1,454
Common loon - 5
Pied-billed grebe - 3
Horned grebe - 43
Red-necked grebe - 10
Western grebe - 11
Great blue heron - 15
Bald eagle - 49 (includes nine immature)
Northern harrier - 22
Sharp-shinned hawk - 13
Cooper’s hawk - 12
Red-tailed hawk - 135
Rough-legged hawk - 24
American kestrel - 23
Merlin - 12
Virginia rail - 2
American coot - 803
Mew gull - 1
Ring-billed gull - 206
California gull - 68
Herring gull - 224
Glaucus-winged gull - 9
Rock pigeon - 281
Eurasian collared-dove - 308
Mourning dove - 543
Great horned owl - 3
Northern pygmy owl - 1
Short-eared owl - 1
Anna’s hummingbird - 1
Belted kingfisher - 10
Downy woodpecker - 14
Hairy woodpecker - 4
Northern flicker - 220
Pileated woodpecker - 5
Northern shrike - 8
Steller’s jay - 21
Clark’s nutcracker - 3
Black-billed magpie - 274
American crow - 140
Common raven - 219
Black-capped chickadee - 237
Mountain chickadee - 9
Red-breasted nuthatch - 44
White-breasted nuthatch - 1
Pygmy nuthatch - 30
American dipper - 1
Ruby-crowned kinglet - 1
Townsend’s solitaire - 3
American robin - 167
Varied thrush - 1
European starling - 3,017
Bohemian waxwing - 2,220
Yellow-rumped warbler - 2
Spotted towhee - 1
Savannah sparrow - 1
Song sparrow - 109
White-crowned sparrow - 49
Dark-eyed junco - 876
Red-winged blackbird - 858
Western meadowlark - 13
Yellow-headed blackbird - 3
Brewers blackbird - 70
Pine grosbeak - 134
House finch - 702
Red crossbill - 14
Common redpoll - 105
Pine siskin - 344
American goldfinch - 328
Evening grosbeak - 58
House sparrow - 662
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Vernon Christmas bird count challenged by snow

Vernon Christmas bird count challenged by snow
Infotel.ca - Dec 26, 2015

The annual Christmas bird count in Vernon is in the books for another year.

Claude Rioux with the North Okanagan Naturalists Club says the count was held on Sunday, Dec. 20.

"What a different day we had from last year where we had no snow," Rioux says in an email. "This year's count started with a snow storm where the visibility was almost nil."

While the number of birds counted was down from last year thanks to the lousy weather in the morning, she says the bird watchers had "a lot of good sightings and even managed to get shots of some of the species sighted during the count.”
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It's for the birds

It's for the birds
Castanet - Dec 13, 2015

Those fine, feathered friends who stay in the North Okanagan are about to be counted.

The North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club is holding a Vernon area bird count Dec. 20.

Interested birders, new and experienced, are invited to take part.

The annual Christmas bird count started across North America in 1900.

The count focuses on the winter bird population, different from summer, as many birds leave our area for warmer climes and other species arrive from the far north.

Information collected by thousands of volunteers is used by biologists to assess population trends and distribution of birds.

The results of all counts are submitted to Bird Studies Canada and collated for all of North America.

Each Christmas bird count is completed within a previously established 24-kilometre radius on a single day.

Those planning to join in the Vernon-area count are urged to take binoculars or a camera and to contact co-ordinator Peter Blokker by email at pfblokker@telus.net or telephone 250-545-8297 to be matched with a group of experienced naturalists.

For those who decide to stay home, the bird group urges you to observe and count the birds at your feeder and send in the information.
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