(A few flocks of the Bohemian Waxwing were seen during last year’s bird count. This year’s bird count only reported one. Photo: Tobi Kiesewalter)
The annual ONRI-CBC Stittsville-Richmond-Munster Christmas Bird Count was held over the course of the day on December 18, 2021. This bird count is North America’s longest running community science project. Tobi Kiesewalter, a Stittsville resident, coordinated the field observers and feeder watchers in Sector 5 – Stittsville.
Due to the cold northwest wind and a driving snow in the afternoon, participants were still able to identify 58 species of birds in the Ottawa area. Overall, 14,742 birds were counted, with two new species being identified and added to the count – the Double-crested Cormorant and the Eastern Bluebird.
However, due to the weather, many of the participants gave up the count earlier than usual with only 17 birding parties continuing in the afternoon from 27 in the morning. This meant an dramatic impact on birds counted took place, with only 15 percent of the birds being counted in the afternoon.
This year Raptor numbers were high, with record numbers reported for three hawks, and three owls, one falcon and a fourth owl tied the previous record highs. Unfortunately, no Rough-legged Hawks, Kestrels or Harriers were reported. Robins were well up in the numbers reported, with 230 whereas in the past years only 44 were recorded. Only a single Bohemian Waxwing was noted. No Grosbeaks were seen and only one Red Crossbill (compared to the large number of these Finches counted last year). Belted Kingfishers, Great Blue Herons, Lapland Longspur and the Horned Lark were also missing this year. Those watching their feeders reported two White-throated Sparrows and one Great Horned Owl.
Save the date of December 17, 2022 for the next Bird Count Day. ONRI-CBC tells us, “we hope most of you will be able to participate. there is still room to find more Feeder Watchers for the count. And there are still a few birds out there that have not yet been seen in the circle on count day, such as Hooded Merganser, Peregrine Falcon, Carolina Wren, Red-bellied Woodpecker.”
Here are a few of the Stittsville specific stats:
- there were 8 people counting at their feeders
- there were 4 field observers
- the total number of hours for bird counting was 30.5
- the total number of species identified was 25
- the total number of birds identified overall 1,032
- the most abundantly identified bird was the Black-capped Chickadee at 171