Great Grey Owls, such as this one, were among the six species of owls spotted during the annual Smithers Christmas Bird Count this year. (Wendy Perry photo)

Great Grey Owls, such as this one, were among the six species of owls spotted during the annual Smithers Christmas Bird Count this year. (Wendy Perry photo)

Christmas bird count highlighted by six owl species

Birders counted 52 species and 6,524 individuals during count week from Dec. 24 to 30

The Smithers Christmas Bird Count has been described by some as one of the most enjoyable we have had.

The weather on Dec. 27 was mild (around -2C), although visibility in places was limited by fog and light snow. Nevertheless, 57 people in 26 parties ventured out into the outdoors to count the birds in the field and an additional six birders watched their feeders. The total number of birds counted with the Smithers Bird Count Circle was 6,524.

The variety of bird species seen or heard (52) was very exciting.

Seeing or hearing five different owl species on the count day and another during count week was a real highlight for many people.

Pygmy Owls were the most abundant and Sawhet Owls were seen or heard for only the second time on our counts.

Bufflehead ducks were seen for the very first time and it was unusual to see Ring-necked, Northern Pintails on count day and some swans flying over during count week.

Other unusual species were Gray-crowned Rosy Finches and American Tree Sparrows. It was nice to see unusually high numbers of Dark-eyed Juncos and Black-billed Magpies and a Golden Eagle for the second year in a row.

The prize for the largest number of any one species goes to Pine Siskins.

Birds reported for Count Week were Trumpeter Swan, Barred Owl, Rock Pigeon, Varied Thrush and Brown Creeper.

Please report any species seen during Count Week (Dec 24-Dec 30) but not on the following list to 250-847-9429.

On behalf of the Bulkley Valley Naturalists we thank all who participated.

-Submitted

Bird Species Numbers

Bird Species

Numbers

Mallard

9

Common Goldeneye

12

Ring-necked Duck

6

Bufflehead

2

Northern Pintail

4

Ruffed Grouse

12

Spruce Grouse

2

White-tailed Ptarmigan

1

Ptarmigan sp.

2

Golden Eagle

1

Bald Eagle adult

32

Bald eagle immature

22

Bald Eagle unknown

18

Sharp-shinned Hawk

2

Merlin

3

American Kestrel

1

Eurasian Collared Dove

2

Northern Hawk Owl

3

Northern Pygmy Owl

9

Northern Saw-whet Owl

2

Great – Gray Owl

2

Short-eared Owl

4

Downy Woodpecker

36

Hairy Woodpecker

34

American Three-toed WP

4

Pileated Woodpecker

1

Northern Flicker

17

Woodpecker sp.

4

Northern Shrike

7

Canada Jay

25

Steller’s Jay

26

Black Billed Magpie

36

Clark’s Nutcracker

5

American Crow

379

Common Raven

460

Black-capped Chickadee

954

Mountain Chickadee

25

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

8

Boreal Chickadee

3

Red-breasted Nuthatch

61

Golden-crowned Kinglet

3

American Robin

12

European Starling

210

Bohemian Waxwing

204

Dark-eyed Junco

148

Song Sparrow

10

American Tree Sparrow

2

Brewer’s Blackbird

325

Pine Grosbeak

555

Red Crossbill

1

White-winged Crossbill

404

Crossbill sp.

44

Common Redpoll

204

Pine Siskin

1947

Gray-crowned Rosy Finch

12

Evening Grosbeak

82

House Sparrow

125

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