On Saturday, December 17, 2016, for the Museum's Christmas Bird Count (CBC) we got lucky with the weather – no rain, no snow (except some vestiges left), just freezing cold temperatures! Thank you to all the hardy volunteers who came out.
Though some birds were sheltering in bushes, a total of 72 species were counted in the final tally. Dividing into groups to cover different ecological areas of Cortes Island, 40 avid birders enjoyed a crisp, sunny morning hunting birds with binoculars and scopes. After warming up with hot drinks and a hot lunch catered by Susanne Minogue at Lynne and Joe Jordan's toasty home, it was back into the cold to continue counting.
Meanwhile, Christine Robinson lead a group of youths in more snowy conditions out to the Children's Forest near Carrington Bay. They discovered the snow on ground and trees made it a little easier to spot small forest birds. This group was joined by Aija White, a PhD candidate and instructor at the University of Western Ontario who is doing her Ph.D on indirect predator threats to songbird populations i.e. song sparrows and her current research is based on Mountain Bluebirds. In the snow the youths were not able to make it all the way to Carrington Bay and Lagoon as planned – too many distractions for playful kids!
A number of people with backyard bird feeders counted species to add to the tally. The count for Tiber Bay to Mary Point was taken on by Carol and Richard Trueman and, like a number of other places, Anna's hummingbirds were included in their tally. Though no unusual species were noted in this year's count, it was good to see a lot of bald eagles, particularly on the Squirrel Cove side of our island.
Later in the afternoon, the leaders and some of the birders gathered again at the Jordans' home to tally up the count, exchange stories and highlights of the day, and enjoy some wine and appies to warm up before heading home.
The Christmas Bird Count is co-sponsored by Cortes Museum and Bird Studies Canada and is linked to the National Audubon Society of North America. With over 100 years of citizen science involvement, it is an early-winter bird census involving thousands of volunteers across Canada, the U.S. and other countries in the Western Hemisphere, who count birds over one 24-hour day, choosing a date between December 15 and January 5 each year.
Special thanks this year go to the group leaders including Peter Elliott, George Sirk, Bill Ophoff, Andy Ellingsen, Chris Napper, Laurel Bohart and Christine Robinson. And thanks also go to Nancy Kendel who organizes it all ahead then flies off to Mexico, with Gina Trzesicka, Lynne Jordan and Peter Elliott picking up the reins. The Museum's next fun birding day will be in spring 2017, probably early May. Watch for announcements on the Museum website www.cortesmuseum.ca
and Cortes Tideline.
This year results of 2016 CBC are included here in attachment. They are also available on our website.
(with corrections in text and in observed species - in attachment)
Participants divided into small groups.