Community Articles
Go to Site Index See "Community Articles" main page
General News · 2nd January 2022
The bird count is Wednesday, January 5.

Grab binoculars and join the Cortes Island Museum for our annual Cortes Island Christmas Bird Count (CBC) co-sponsored with Birds Canada and the Audubon Society.

This year’s CBC is re-scheduled for Wednesday, January 5, 2022.

Join the CBC individually or with family members, counting the birds around your house, bird feeder and backyard. For the 24-hour count day, please record your birding location, bird species and an estimate of the actual number of birds observed.

Observations of three days prior and three days after the count day are noted as Count Week (CW) sightings and we only need species names for that period. If you observed any unusual species in the count week, fill up the Rare Bird form available online or at the Museum. Read below more information about rare birds on Cortes Island coming from our bird expert, George Sirk.

No pre-registration is required.
Please submit your observation to the Museum by January 6.

Christmas Bird Count forms are attached here, can be downloaded from the Museum website, or can be picked up at the Museum, Friday and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. (please note, the Museum is closed Dec 24/25 and Dec 31/Jan 1).

Have fun birding and stay safe!

Cortes Island CBC bird checklist
Rare bird form
Cortes outline map (please mark or describe the area of your observations)
List of birds considered rare on Cortes Island at this time of the year


Some birds are considered rare on Cortes Island. Please keep this list in mind when reporting your observations. The list of rare birds and comments below come from George Sirk.

George: In my opinion, the following is a list of unusual/rare birds possible for the wintertime on Cortes/environs. It’s by no means comprehensive, but useful. Most "vagrant" or accidental birds are not included there, for example Cattle Egret etc., or are mostly our summer nesters.

Cortes Island bird list can be found in the Birds of Cortes and Mitlenatch Islands booklet, which I recommend all birding parties carry along with their favourite field guide (unfortunately, the Museum is out of any copies of this booklet).

Any sightings of these unusual birds must have detailed field notes, sketches, or photographs. Even crummy little pictures with cell phones can be very useful. If a very rare bird is spotted, it would be nice to receive a cell call, in case we want to drop everything to go and see it.

If you would like to share your cell phone #, please email it to George Sirk ( We would all have to share #s of course.

Red-throated Loon
Yellow-billed Loon (V acc)
Eared Grebe (no records in booklet)
All tubenoses (Shearwaters etc.)
Brandt’s Cormorant
Eurasian Widgeon
Northern Goshawk
Rough-legged Hawk – I’ve got it once in winter and just did down by Duncan – prefers open country like farmlands
Ruffed Grouse
Virginia and Sora Rail
all plovers
all sandpipers except Surfbird and Black Turnstone
all jaegers
Thayer’s Gull
Glaucous Gull
Ancient Murrelet
all owls except Barred
Clark’s Nutcracker
Gray Jay (both corvids are possible at high elevation-Green Mountain)
Bewick’s Wren
Hermit Thrush – possibly one or two on whole island
Northern Shrike - farmlands
Yellow-rumped Warbler
White-throated Sparrow
Harris’s Sparrow
Lapland Longspur – open beach/grasslands/sandy areas
Snow Bunting – the same
Brewer’s Blackbird
Common Redpoll