Bird lovers are being sought for the 2018 Christmas Bird Count taking place in the Kingston region and across the province – a great way to explore nature while helping our feathered friends and is a part of many families’ holiday traditions.
Founded by American ornithologist Frank Chapman in 1900 – and now North America’s longest running wildlife census – the count is conducted by volunteers who help monitor the status of both resident and migratory birds across the Western Hemisphere.
This year’s free event takes place between December 14, 2018 and January 5, 2019, and everyone is welcome to explore nature while helping to increase the awareness and knowledge of our feathered friends, regardless of skill level.
Ontario Nature member groups have organized at least 80 Christmas Bird Counts in the province this season where volunteers will brave the elements to contribute to the study and the conservation of birds. Scientists will use this collected data to monitor the health and status of resident and migratory birds and help guide conservation strategies for species in decline.
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“The Christmas Bird Count is a great way for bird lovers of all ages to help Ontario’s birds,” said Emma Horrigan, Ontario Nature’s Conservation Projects and Education Manager. “Novices work alongside experts to collect important data that help guide work on behalf of all birds across the province. And who knows… maybe you’ll see a rare bird that no one has recorded before.”
Last year, more than 14,000 Canadians participated in over 450 Christmas Bird Counts across the country with participants recording 2.4 million individual birds. In Ontario, 4,435 citizen scientists tallied 231 species and 1,277,568 individual birds throughout the province.
Some accomplishments from last year’s Ontario counts, provided by Ontario nature, include:
- Highlights included red-shouldered hawks, black-billed magpies and red-throated loons
- Record numbers of snow buntings and dark-eyed juncos were counted in and around Kingston
- The first ever golden eagles and a record 30 bald eagles were recorded during the Hanover-Walkerton count
- A record 410 American goldfinches were recorded in Niagara Falls
- Unusual sightings around Lake Simcoe included two golden-crowned kinglets and a mockingbird
- Count participants tallied a record 192 hooded mergansers and 103 red-bellied woodpeckers in Hamilton.
- Rare sightings in Thunder Bay included a boreal owl, a brown thrasher and a white-crowned sparrow