Birders recorded 20 species of birds spotted in Chestermere, during the annual Christmas Bird Count on Dec. 19.
The total unofficial count this year, is 2,982.
“The total number of birds was the highest of all the four years the Chestermere count has been active,” bird count organizer Don Cassidy said. “There were a few new species identified including a northern shrike, snowy owl, snow buntings, and mallards.”
This year, there were a few surprises such as the 12 ring-necked pheasants, 12 gray partridges, 200 snow buntings, one snowy owl, and a flock of 150 common redpolls.
During the count, birders recorded 455 house sparrows, one white-breasted nuthatch, 71 rock pigeons, one northern shrike, one blue jay, 157 common redpolls, 12 gray partridges, 12 house finches, 117 black-billed magpies, 1,575 Canada geese, one merlin, 12 ring-necked pheasants, six black-capped chickadees, six northern flickers, 23 common ravens, 15 bohemian waxwings, one snowy owl, 200 snow buntings, 315 mallards, and one red-breasted nuthatch.
“Overall, the volunteers we had did a fine job based on their role. Field observations or feeder observations and we had a high number of birds,” Cassidy said. “The weather was a little cool and overcast but not off enough to influence the count.”
The data collected from the bird count is given to professionals to analyze and determine the health of various species across the country and provides a record for a comparative analysis over time.
Without the support of birders in the community, the Christmas Bird Count wouldn’t be possible each year.
“I would like to extend my sincere thank you to all of the volunteers who contributed time and effort to help develop the data for the Chestermere Christmas Bird Count. Without more eyes in the skies, we would not have as complete a snapshot of the birdlife in the area,” Cassidy said.