Clearwater’s 2013 results were not an auspicious performance for the first global Great Backyard Bird Count as the number of checklists submitted dropped to 182 – the lowest since 2007.
Even so, the community submitted more checklists than 103 countries. Only the U.S., India, Mexico and, of course, Canada had more checklists.
Over 50 households participated in each of the previous four years, but that plummeted to 36 this year.
Since the smallest focus was at the county level (Thompson-Nicola), the global format did not readily provide results for individual communities as in past GBBCs.
Therefore, considerable effort was needed to gather Clearwater’s results.
Even though checklist numbers were low, 19 species had more individual birds than last year.
Local participants identified 44 species for a total of 4,165 individual birds, down nearly 2,000 from last year.
The most individual birds were common redpoll (1,414); black-capped chickadee (605); pine siskin (488); and common raven (311).
But it was the black-capped chickadees that appeared most often, being on 104 checklists followed by common raven (85); common redpoll (75); and red-breasted nuthatch (58).
With the warmer weather this year, some anticipated a few new species might arrive, but that didn’t materialize.
Perhaps a strong wind was needed to push them up from the south.
If the common redpolls had not flooded the area just prior to the count, the total number of individual birds could have been dismal.
They’re part of a superflight which occurs about every 10 years when food is scarce in the north and about eight species flock south reaching well into the U.S.
Perhaps the closure of the landfill affected the number of common ravens, which dropped over 500 from last year.
For the first time since 2006, no American dippers were sighted. Canada geese showed up this year following their usual pattern of appearing every third year.
A few people had a little difficulty entering their lists, probably due to technological changes, but with perseverance and a little assistance got them submitted.
It was interesting to view the webpage showing the blips appear as checklists were entered around the globe, which has been depicted on YouTube as a four minute compression of two hours of entries.
Appreciation for promoting the event goes to Forest House, Home Hardware, RONA, Clearwater Times, and especially Clearwater Library for providing checklists to those who wanted one.
Many thanks to everyone who managed to fit some counts into their busy schedule.
The local Backyard Bird Count organizers hope you enjoyed your first global GBBC and they are sure the GBBC appreciates your effort as a citizen scientist.