Results of the 2022 Great Backyard Bird Count

Perhaps affected by a long cold spell and having an abundance of snow on the ground, several locals noticed a lack of birds in the area prior to the count.

That was born out comparing all counts since 2007. Clearwater’s 2022 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) had the: lowest number of species (29); second lowest for checklists (104); second lowest for individual birds (1873); and second lowest for participants (20 households with 29 observers).

The year for lowest results was 2020, as shown on the accompanying chart.

Just over 370 common redpolls were spotted this year, followed by the black-capped chickadee (336), the common raven (300), the American goldfinch (110) and the steller’s jay (96).

The common raven, however, was the most-sighted bird, as 61 checklists noted the species. The black-capped chickadee was second with 58 checklists, followed by the steller’s jay (29), red-breasted nuthatch (28) and northern flicker (22).

Comments regarding some specie

The downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, northern flicker, and black-capped chickadee all had the lowest number of individuals since the start.

The red-breasted nuthatch was on the lowest number of checklists ever, with the second-lowest individuals.

There were no spottings of the brown creeper for the first time since 2017, and no sightings of waxwings for fifth year in a row. The evening grosbeak hasn’t been sighted either, after fairly stable numbers the last five years following a sharp decline from 2014 to 2016.

No owls were spotted for the second year in a row.

Dark-eyed junco was considerably lower, and the pine siskin was the second lowest over the years after last year’s irruption, with most at the coast this year.

However, there were some positive notes for a few specie. The American goldfinch was the most since 2011, and the most since 2012 for steller’s jay. There was an increase after two low years for the American crow.

There’s been a slight increase over the last four years for the pileated woodpecker, and a small irruption that boosted the overall total of the common redpoll, though far less than previous irruptions in the thousands.

Five local participants were in the top ten for checklists submitted in the Thompson-Nicola area. Two were in the top 100 for BC, with one attaining top spot, which ranked as 10th in Canada.

Hoo that participant was will remain a mystery.

Compared to countries, Clearwater would be in 56th place. The community never makes the Top 100 specie list because other areas see more species.

Many thanks to those promoting the event: Clearwater Library (also provided a local checklist), Sharon Neufeld at Forest House (also put it on Facebook), Hazel Wadlegger, Wild Flour Bakery Cafe, The Hungry Hiker Cafe, Home Hardware, Rona and The Clearwater Times.

Of course, thanks to every participant this year. Let’s try and have a greater turnout in 2023.

Happy birding, Hoo Ping Crane


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