Volunteers conduct 23rd annual Christmas Bird Counts
The 23rd annual Christmas Bird Counts for Cranbrook and Kimberley were held on December 26, 2020, and January 3, 2021.
On Count Day, teams of counters cover as much of a specified 24-kilometre circle as possible to tally all the birds they see. Also, Feeder Counters watch their yards, recording the various species and counting the maximum number of individuals seen at one time.
Count Week extends three days before and after Count Day. Any species not seen on Count Day but seen during Count Week can be included in the official report to Bird Studies Canada/National Audubon Society. The number of individuals of Count Week species are not added to the count tally.
Field observers participating in one or both counts totalled 25 birders and friends, all local residents, while 21 people contributed the feeder counts.
In the Cranbrook circle, the weather was favourable for birders, and several areas with open water enhanced the species count. About 3,500 birds were seen, representing the 47 species detected. To view a detailed report of the Cranbrook count, the best place is the Rocky Mountain Naturalists website. Here you can read about one particular highlight, the woodpecker Grand Slam consisting of all six species found in our area.
Within the Kimberley circle, the weather was unusually mild for January, with significant snowfall in upper Kimberley and brighter, drier conditions elsewhere. Many small ponds and lakes were frozen, with some open water along the rivers. Luckily, we managed to pick up the majority of usual and unusual species all in one day. A new record of 51 species were found among the approximately 2,400 birds counted. The very detailed report, which provides information on abundance and distribution, can be easily found on our website.
Thank you to all participants, and special thanks to our tireless count compiler, Dianne Cooper.
In recent years, several particularly keen naturalists have had an enjoyable day assisting with other bird counts nearby.
Fernie and Eureka, Montana, counts have provided interesting birding and connection with other naturalists. This year, six of us spent a fine day in the Creston Valley, making a significant contribution to the Creston count.
During the year, naturalists regularly look for birds. In May/June, at the height of migratory bird activity, we organize a friendly competition. On Little Big Day, several teams, each with about four birders, can record well over 100 species in an effort to further enhance knowledge of East Kootenay bird populations.
Not all naturalists call themselves birders. Our club is supported by a membership who is keen on many differing aspects of the natural world. In response, we are able to tackle a wide range of projects which benefit nature in the East Kootenay. Naturalists and birders are always welcome to join our active club. Please visit our website to view our current interests.
Lead image: A Downy Woodpecker avails itself to seed in a Gold Creek bird feeder. e-KNOW file photo
Submitted by Daryl Calder