A northern pygmy owl rests in a tree. This year’s Great Backyard Bird Count saw the most sightings of the species recorded since the local effort began.

A northern pygmy owl rests in a tree. This year’s Great Backyard Bird Count saw the most sightings of the species recorded since the local effort began.

Bird count shows small resurgence

Heavy snowfalls and cold temperatures may have persuaded some to move further south

Submitted

After the lowest number of individual birds last year, the 2018 Great Backyard Bird Count had a small resurgence in numbers, though checklists were only up by two and participants by four. The number of species remained about the same even, with the first time addition of a hooded merganser.

READ MORE: It’s time to count birds this weekend (Feb. 12, 2018)

Following the usual GBBC pattern, the birds started to disappear just prior to the event. Heavy snowfalls and cold temperatures may have persuaded some to move further south rather than their breeding grounds.

Thirteen local participants were in the top 15 for checklists entered in the Thompson-Nicola area. Two managed the top 10 for B.C. and the top 50 for Canada.

Comments regarding some species:

• Canada goose – first sighting since 2013

• Trumpeter swan – first sighting since 2007

• Ruffed grouse – none reported for the first time on our GBBC

• Northern pygmy owl – most sightings since our GBBC started

• Downy woodpecker – lowest number since 2006

• Pileated woodpecker – dropped to five sightings when the average is 36

• Northern shrike – first sighting since 2011

• Chestnut-backed chickadee – resurgence this year to 2012 numbers

• Boreal chickadee – spotted after a five year absence

• White-breasted nuthatch – seen after a four year absence

• Dark-eyed junco – the most sighted over all the years of our GBBC

• Pine grosbeak – resurgence to numbers seen in 2013

• Red crossbill – typically, one flock sighted one time

• Common redpoll – a small resurgence this year after only one flock last year

• Evening grosbeak – only on two checklists, so no significant recovery since 2013

Which species were participants most likely to see? The black-capped chickadee, common raven, red-breasted nuthatch, northern flicker, or common redpoll in that order as they were reported on the most checklists. The top five for the most individual birds were common redpoll (738), black-capped chickadee (731), common raven (271), dark-eyed junco (243) and pine siskin (128).

With 154 countries participating, our community slipped down a little to 28th place for checklists, just behind Bhutan. The top five countries in order were United States, Canada, India, Australia and Spain.

Though it had the most checklists, the U.S. slipped out of the top five for species (657) to seventh place. The top five for species were Colombia (996), Ecuador (904), Brazil (847), India (832), and Mexico (780). Canada (251) was in 28th place.

Many thanks to Clearwater Library for heavily promoting the event, mentioning it to almost every visitor, and providing blank local checklists. Thanks also to the Times, Home Hardware, and Rona

A summary of the 2018 GBBC, including references to weather factors, migration, and contest photos is available at www.birdcount.org. Many thanks to everyone who managed to fit counts into their busy schedule. Certainly, the GBBC appreciates your effort as a citizen scientist.



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Chart shows how the participation and results of the Great Backyard Bird Count in Clearwater has varied over the years since 2004. This year saw a small resurgence in numbers over last year.

Chart shows how the participation and results of the Great Backyard Bird Count in Clearwater has varied over the years since 2004. This year saw a small resurgence in numbers over last year.