The BV Naturalists annual Christmas bird count included a rare sighting of a golden eagle. (File photo)

Annual bird count includes rare sighting

A golden eagle was among the 49 species observed

The Smithers Christmas Bird Count took place on the relatively mild Sunday, December 29, 2019. Twenty different parties, comprising 46 people, were out in the count circle from dawn until dusk. An additional 14 people watched feeders within the circle. In total 49 different species and 4,514 individual birds were counted on the day. During count week (three days either side of the count day) a Merlin and a Ring-necked Pheasant were also seen within the circle.

The most unusual species seen on count day were a Golden Eagle, a Green-winged Teal and one Fox Sparrow. We have never had a Golden Eagle reported before. In addition, it is always exciting for the participants to see a Hawk Owl and a bird cam recorded the presence of the saw-whet owl.

The number of Eurasian Collared doves has dropped drastically from the 59 reported last year and we assume hawks having been having a good feast.

The complete list of birds seen on count day is as follows:

Canada Goose 1

Mallard 5

Green-winged Teal 1

Common Goldeneye 25

Common Merganser 2

Bald Eagle – Mature 26

Bald Eagle – Immature 11

Golden Eagle 1

Northern Goshawk 2

Rough-legged Hawk 1

Raptor sp. 1

Ruffed Grouse 7

Ptarmigan sp. 1

Eurasian Collared Dove 2

Northern Hawk Owl 1

Saw-whet Owl 1

Northern Pygmy Owl 2

Pileated Woodpecker 3

Hairy Woodpecker 47

Downy Woodpecker 29

Northern Flicker 25

Am. Three-Toed Woodpecker 2

Northern Shrike 7

Clark’s Nutcracker 6

Canada Jay 33

Steller’s Jay 43

Black-billed Magpie 15

Common Raven 360

American Crow 596

Black-capped Chickadee 1035

Mountain Chickadee 18

Chestnut-backed Chickadee 4

Boreal Chickadee 5

Red-breasted Nuthatch 9

Brown Creeper 2

American Dipper 1

Golden-crowned Kinglet 3

American Robin 37

European Starling 139

Bohemian Waxwing 276

Dark-eyed Junco 75

Song Sparrow 15

Fox Sparrow 1

Brewer’s Blackbird 405

Evening Grosbeak 17

Pine Grosbeak 63

Red Crossbill 10

Common Redpoll 411

Pine Siskin 35

House Sparrow 697

Total individuals 4514

Total species 49

If anyone saw a bird not listed above either on count day or during count week, please call 250-847-9429. The B.V. Naturalists would like to thank all the bird counters and feeder watchers who participated.

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