Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas bird count

This is the third year we've taken part in the Audubon Society's Christmas bird count, where for over 100 years groups of ornithologists and bird-lovers count each and every bird they see on one day in a specific area in a specific time period. All the sightings are compiled for one region and eventually form one giant database that allows researchers to look at large-scale trends in bird populations to see which species are doing well and which are decreasing in certain areas.

The weather was mild this year but the snow was falling thickly, which made for a beautiful winter wonderland as we walked through the forest, listening for the soft phoe-bee of black-capped chickadees or the clear birrrdy birdy birdybirdy of northern cardinals.

Oh right, but we were also looking for birds.

This was a record year for me - we saw 23 different species of birds including common goldeneye, mergansers, a merlin, two red-tailed hawks, three types of woodpeckers, cardinals, chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, greater black-backed gulls, robins, sparrows, pine siskins and my personal favourite: the eastern screech owl (can you see it?).
And here's a little white-breasted nuthatch, and below him a downy woodpecker.

I wasn't able to get as many photos of the birds as I would have liked because we saw so many of them from far away, but my little owl more than satisfies me.


  1. BackyardNaturePhotosJanuary 4, 2011 at 4:55 AM

    Beautiful shots of the snowy tree branches. I remember the silence of winter in the forest. Incredible shot of the screech owl!!

  2. Such a lovely way to spend a day! The owl shot is precious :)

  3. Look at that snow! It snowed here about a week ago. I love freshly fallen snow..makes every thing so magical!

    Popping by from an etsy forum blog thread :)

  4. oh! i totally see him! how adorable.

    your pictures are just breathtaking. it's photos like these that make me miss the snow (a little bit). :)

    happy new year, victoria!

  5. VERY COOL - 1 i love snow on branches - 2 it just snowed here for Christmas and i felt horro for all the birds .. VERY cute idea!

    *kiss kiss*
    ~Tiptoe Butterfly~

  6. That is so neat. What beautiful pictures. My older son loves bird watching.

    I am your newest follower and fellow Canadian. My hubs was born and raise in Burnaby and now we live in the Okanagan Valley.

    I am having great Canadian only Seafood giveaway.Stop by if you like to enter this great prize package or just look around.



  7. Just found your blog - lovely photos.
    We're in Kingston here and had tonnes of snow yesterday which prettied up the greyness.
    Our best friend graduated from OVC in 2002 and is has his own practice. He didn't always want to be vet either, he was actually a EMT for years. It was my husband who encouraged his lifelong pal to go back as a mature student and get first his B of Sci at 30 yrs old then apply to OVC. Congrats on being accepted and best of luck with your first year!

  8. So very dreamy with all of that snow. It appears as if you were inside of a snow globe. Sounds like you had a wonderful day of birding. I'd be happy with the snow dusted screech owl sighting too! Sweet nuthatch and downy. Wonderful post! A joy to view your blog :)

  9. loveeeeeeeee these pics..especially the owl ones


    follow if u like what u see?


  10. Thanks for all the comments guys! :)

    Nadine, that is super cool! That's actually the second somewhat-random OVC connection I've had this year, and a great story! We have a couple 30+ year olds in our class too, and even in my circle of friends we are mostly in our late 20s. It's good to know it can be done while still maintaining some sanity.

  11. These are wonderful photos, especially of the screech owl! Its been a few years since I've seen one in the field. Looking forward to maybe catching a few Bald Eagles down here, so far they've eluded me.


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