A Cooper’s Hawk surveys the scene perched high up on a alder branch during a winters cloudy day. (Archive photo)

Smithers Christmas bird count results

Over 5,000 birds observed in annual count, including a couple local rarities.

Sunday, Dec. 30 was a really beautiful day and perfect for bird counting. The sun was shining, there was no wind and it was mild (-7C). Over 47 people were out in the field with another six watching feeders. In addition, a small group of Nature Kids joined one of the parties for a couple of hours so children could learn how to count birds

A total of 45 species were seen and heard which is not as many as in some recent years, but the total number of individual birds was high (5062) mainly due to irruptive species such as Pine Siskins, Common Redpolls and Evening Grosbeaks.

The most unusual species (in bold) was a Cooper’s Hawk. The unmistakable call of a Canada Goose was also heard by two people in different parties, but it was not seen. Perhaps someone in the Driftwood/Malkow area knows something about this mysterious goose.

The total count results are as follows:

Canada Goose 1

Mallard 1

Common Merganser 3

Bald Eagle adults 20

Imm. 6

Sharp-shinned Hawk 1

Cooper’s Hawk 1

Red-tailed Hawk 1

Merlin 1

unidentified raptor 1

Ruffed Grouse 6

Rock Dove 2

Collared Dove 59

N. Pygmy Owl 5

Owl sp. 1

Northern Flicker 19

Hairy Woodpecker 38

Downy Woodpecker 34

Three-toed Woodpecker 1

Pileated Woodpecker 3

Woodpecker sp. 1

Gray Jay 27

Steller’s Jay 18

Clark’s Nutcracker 5

Black-billed Magpie 14

American Crow 379

Common Raven 346

Black-capped Chickadee 920

Mountain Chickadee 32

Chestnut-backed Chickadee 2

Red-breasted Nuthatch 28

Brown Creeper 2

Golden-crowned Kinglet 3

Varied Thrush 2

American Robin 10

Northern Shrike 1

Bohemian Waxwing 585

European Starling 148

Song Sparrow 3

Dark-eyed Junco 72

Brewer’s Blackbird 212

House Sparrow 254

White-winged Crossbill 4

Pine Grosbeak 19

Common Redpoll 968

Purple Finch 12

Evening Grosbeak 255

Pine Siskin 1076

Total number birds

5602

Total species

45

Count Week Species

Common Goldeneye

Short-eared Owl

If anyone saw any bird not listed above between Dec. 27 and Jan. 2, please call 250-847-9429. The Bulkley Valley Naturalists would like to thank all the bird counters for continuing this wonderful tradition.

–Submitted story

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