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Our Hardy, Winged Feathered Friends

The official Christmas Bird Count (CBC) including mammals is held every year between mid December and the first week of January. The National Audubon Society began the count 122 years ago. Birds Canada has been coordinating the Canadian counts since 2000.

Bob Bowles, the official founder and compiler (1998 - 2024) for the Carden Alvar study circle, organized approximately 40 volunteers into small teams, covering a 24 kilometer circle around the alvar. Bob divided the area into 11 sections with 2-4 people on each team.

Our team, 4A, consisted of Bob Bowles, Anna Bourgeois, Jim Steele and myself.  Anna volunteered to be our official record keeper for the day. Thank you Anna!

We met in Sebright, Ontario on the morning of January 3rd under overcast skies and worked our way south along the western border of the circle, finishing about 6 hours later just north-west of Bolsover, Ontario. We drove approximately 80K, up and down Concession roads and Side roads. What was amazing was the changing landscape; cedar groves, forested areas, wetlands, farmers' fields and the undeniable look of the Carden plains. Each offers a perfect habitat for these brawny, tenacious beings.

All in all the teams did well for the day, tallying 4183 birds, 44 species, and 140 mammals, 10 species. The Common merganser topped the observation list at 717 with the Black-capped chickadee following with 559 sightings. The links below show the beauty of these birds along with copyright acknowledgement.

All birds seen or heard are tallied, along with mammals. The counting and reporting of each bird and species provides important information that is used by ornithologists and conservation biologists.

This information helps with discovering trends, the health of particular species, and how birds are responding to climate change. It also measures how bird populations have changed over time which enables strategies to be implemented to protect birds and their habitat.

Time spent volunteering each year for the annual Christmas Bird Count is a great way to connect with the natural world, learn and identify different species and provide valuable data to the National Audubon Society and Bird Canada. You officially become a 'Citizen Scientist' and these wonderful creatures entertain you during the winter months. Here are some photos taken at the Nature Centre of visiting birds and mammals. Unfortunately just not taken on Count Day.

Photo Credit - Michael Twofeather

Barred Owl - November 2022

Great Grey Owl - March 2023

Twin Moose - January 2023

Trumpeter Swans April 2023

Barred Owl - February 2020

Blue Jay February 2023

Snow Buntings February 2022

Mourning Dove February 2023

We hope to 'Count You In' for next year's official Carden Christmas Bird Count.

The next workshop is Mammal Tracking on Snowshoes led by Bob Bowles, Saturday, January 27th starting at 10:00 AM.

Send us an email to register

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