Rare sightings made during Christmas bird count

The 65th Annual Christmas Bird Count tallied more than 13,000 birds on Dec. 21, 201

A total of 90 species and 13,351 individual birds were detected during the 65th Annual Vernon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) Dec. 21.

The tally, organized by the North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club, was slightly above historic averages for Vernon of 88 species and nearly 13,000 individual birds recorded during the yearly count.

Highlights experienced throughout the day were shared by many of the 49 participants during the end-of-day tally event, traditionally held at Bishop Wild Bird Sanctuary.

A few rare species were observed during this year’s event, with Anna’s Hummingbird tallied for the first time since the late ‘80s. Canyon Wren, heard by Pat McAllister near Cosens Bay, was recorded for only the second time in the Vernon count history and was declared Runner-up Best Bird by those in attendance at the wrap-up party. Best Bird of the Day trophy was awarded to Ray Arlt, Sharon Lawrence, Fran Wagner and Buffy Baumbrough, the group that observed a count-record five long-eared owls in the South BX area.

The longest running citizen science survey in the world, the CBC provides critical data on bird populations and trends as observed during the winter throughout the Western Hemisphere. The Vernon CBC has a total of 18 routes with numerous observers from around the Vernon area also reporting backyard bird feeder numbers.

“We had decent coverage during this year’s count; however, we would have benefitted from a few more participants,” said Peter Blokker, organizer. “Observers need only to be able to identify the common birds to get into it and they can learn a few more of our resident bird species along the way.”

For those who may have always wanted to participate in a citizen science survey your next local chance is during the Swan & Eagle Count, taking place Sunday. For more information, contact Aaron Deans at bishopwildbird@gmail.com or register on the Allan Brooks Nature Centre Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AllanBrooksNatureCentre.