Bohemian waxwings were the most common individuals spotted during the 2022 Smithers Christmas Bird Count. (Randen Pederson/Wikimedia Commons)

Bohemian waxwings were the most common individuals spotted during the 2022 Smithers Christmas Bird Count. (Randen Pederson/Wikimedia Commons)

Smithers Christmas Bird Count yields good results despite unfavourable conditions

5,461 individuals of 42 species counted on Dec. 27

The Smithers Christmas Bird Count yielded a low number of species but acceptable number of individuals in 2022.

The count took place on December 27, 2022. Despite relatively unfavourable conditions, a high number of 55 people (plus one four-month-old baby) in 24 different parties searched for birds out in the field and two more watched their feeders full time.

Visibility was generally poor for much of the day, starting with heavy fog which changed briefly to snow making it very difficult to see birds unless they were very close, and roads were icy. The number of identified species was a low 42, but the number of individual birds was an acceptable 5,461.

Bohemian waxwings were numerous mainly in town, whereas pine siskins and black-capped chickadees were the most frequently seen out in the bush.

The real exciting species of the day was the short-eared owl. A total of 11 birds were reported seen hunting over the open fields, although allowing for double counting, the actual number was more likely to be nine. That is still a very high number as only one or two have been seen on our count in the past.

Also interesting was the high number of varied thrush and robins. I have never had varied thrushes at my feeder in 37 years of doing the count and I am assuming the mild weather leading up to mid-December encouraged them to stay longer than normal.

Although not reported on count day, the most unusual species by far was the spotted towhee which has been hanging around a feeder in town for several weeks and was seen during count week. Also, sooty grouse were seen on the ski hill by a grouse/ptarmigan expert who says he never imagined seeing them there in the winter.

BV Naturalists wish to thank all the people who took part in the bird count and made it so successful. If any bird not on the list below was seen either on Count Day or during Count Week (Dec 24 to Dec 30), please let us know at 250-847-9429.

– Rosamund Pojar

Total number of individual birds 5,461

Total number of species 42

Common Goldeneye 4

Bald eagle (mature) 38

Bald Eagle (immature) 6

Ring-necked Pheasant 2

Ruffed Grouse 30

White-tailed Ptarmigan 1

Sharp-shinned Hawk 1

Cooper’s Hawk 1

Cooper’s/Sharp-shinned Hawk 1

Eurasian Collared Dove 1

Northern Pygmy Owl 2

Short-eared Owl 11

Barred Owl 1

Pileated Woodpecker 1

Hairy Woodpecker 28

Downy Woodpecker 33

American Three-toed Woodpecker 2

Northern Flicker 21

Woodpecker sp. 2

Northern Shrike 5

Canada (Gray) Jay 11

Steller’s Jay 17

Golden-crowned Kinglet 2

Townsend’s Solitaire 5

American Robin 35

Varied Thrush 12

Black-billed Magpie 20

American Crow 359

Common Raven 256

Black-capped Chickadee 1,082

Mountain Chickadee 18

Red-breasted Nuthatch 41

Bohemian Waxwing 1,265

Song Sparrow 9

Dark-eyed Junco 155

Red-winged Blackbird 8

Brewer’s Blackbird 203

European Starling 95

Purple Finch 27

Pine Grosbeak 91

White-winged Crossbill 3

Common Redpoll 64

Pine Siskin 1085

Redpoll/siskin 20

Evening Grosbeak 34

House Sparrow 354

Count Week Species

Common Merganser

Ptarmigan sp. (Willow?)

Sooty Grouse

Spotted Towhee

Boreal Chickadee

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