A northern hawk owl was one of 45 species counted in the annual Smithers Christmas Bird Count Dec. 27. (Cindy Lewis/CRANBERRYCOHO Photography)

A northern hawk owl was one of 45 species counted in the annual Smithers Christmas Bird Count Dec. 27. (Cindy Lewis/CRANBERRYCOHO Photography)

Christmas bird count relatively low due to cold

An exciting addition to the count this year was a pair of American Goldfinch

Despite the cold weather, 50 rugged, northern birders were out in the field in a maximum of 26 parties counting the birds on Dec. 27 for the Christmas Count. An additional 16 people were watching feeders either full or part-time.

The total number of individual birds counted within the circle was 4,244 and the number of species identified was 45. The total number of individuals was the lowest we have recorded, which is most likely due to the extreme cold leading up to the count day.

By and large, birds were centred around reliable food sources.

A first for our count, and exciting to see here at all, were a couple of American Goldfinch seen in town. This species is slowly moving into our area. The pair here now are not in their breeding plumage but watch out for their brilliant yellow in Spring.

A few sparrows that should have migrated stayed close to feeders.

Other birds we do not see often on our counts were a Barred owl and a couple of Ring-necked Pheasants that have been released from captivity.

Apart from Chickadees, Crows and Ravens, the most abundant species was the huge flock of Bohemian Waxwings that were seen swirling in clouds around town in search of berries such as mountain ash.

A huge thank you goes to all the people who participated.

If anyone saw a species within the count circle between Dec. 24 and 30 that is not listed below, please call 250-847-9429.

Common Goldeneye 60

Ring-necked Pheasant 2

Ruffed Grouse 11

Willow Ptarmigan 4

Ptarmigan sp. 1

Spruce Grouse 2

Bald Eagle adult 21

Bald Eagle immature 13

Sharp-shinned Hawk 1

Accipiter sp. 1

Eurasian Collared Dove 1

Northern Hawk Owl 2

Northern Pygmy Owl 2

Barred Owl 1

Downy Woodpecker 42

Hairy Woodpecker 39

Three-toed Woodpecker 3

Pileated Woodpecker 1

Northern Flicker 26

Woodpecker sp. 4

Northern Shrike 7

Canada Jay 1

Steller’s Jay 25

Black-billed Magpie 24

American Crow 408

Common Raven 341

Black-capped Chickadee 881

Mountain Chickadee 9

Chestnut-backed Chickadee 7

Red-breasted Nuthatch 39

Brown Creeper 3

American Dipper 5

Golden-crowned Kinglet 5

Bohemian Waxwing 865

Song Sparrow 23

White-throated Sparrow 2 (unusual)

White-crowned Sparrow 1 (unusual)

Golden-crowned Sparrow 1 (unusual)

Dark-eyed Junco 162

Red-winged Blackbird 92

Brewer’s Blackbird 169

European Starling 176

American Goldfinch 2 (new for this count)

Purple Finch 1

Pine Grosbeak 107

Crossbill sp. 1

Common Redpoll 147

Pine Siskin 42

Evening Grosbeak 10

House Sparrow 451

Total Number of Birds 4,244

Total number of species 45

 

American goldfinch. (David Heberlein photo)

American goldfinch. (David Heberlein photo)