Wolfville Christmas Bird Count -2001

by Joe Nocera and Trina Fitzgerald

Despite an overnight snowstorm that threatened to linger into morning, the Wolfville Christmas bird count was conducted on December 15. 2001, marking another successful year in the long history of our local count. Overall, 82 species were counted on count day, with four extra species seen during count week. Forty-eight field observers participated, logging 157 party hours covering 1,008 km. Ninety-one feeder watchers also participated by observing at 76 feeders for 153.25 hours in total (we thank Jim Wolford for compiling these feeder-watch data).

This count generated many interesting observations. Several rarities were observed on count day: Turkey’ Vulture. Broad-winued Hawk. Peregrine Falcon (3), Killdeer. Lesser Black-hacked Gull (3). Eastern Bluebird (2), Yellow-breasted Chat. White-crowned Sparrow (4). and Baltimore Oriole. Lesser Black-hacked Gulls have become something of a regular fixture in this area. and may soon not warrant exception.

There were a few surprises in the top-ten species counted this year (see table 1)~ for example. American Black Duck and Canada Goose did not make the list. Last year these species occupied the number 4 and 8 slots, respectively. Newcomers to the list are Common Redpoll and Blue Jay.

Table 1: The ten species with highest numbers observed during the Wolfville CBC, 2001
Rank Species Number Counted
1 European Starling 15,638
2 Herring Gull 13,730
3 American Crow 9,711
4 Great Black-backed Gull 4,048
5 Mourning Dove 2,123
6 Dark-eyed Junco 2,087
7 American Goldfinch 1,438
8 Black-capped Chickadee 1,338
9 Common Redpoll 1,187
10 Blue Jay 1,032

During this count several species had their highest observed numbers in the recent history of the Wolfville count (since at least 1953). Most notable are the record highs of some of our most common birds: Mallard, Mourning Dove, and Dark-eyed Junco (see table 2 for a complete list of record highs for 2001). Observers were also treated to the largest irruption of Pine Grosbeaks in the recent history of the Wolfville count. Not since 1977 have Pine Grosbeaks been counted on the order of what was observed this year.

Table 2: Species for which record the Wolfville CBC, 2001
Species 2001 2001 Count Previous High Count (year)
Red-necked Grebe 2 1 (1994)
Mallard 678 670 (2000)
American Wigeon 2 1 (1977)
American Kestrel 4 3 (1979)
Iceland Gull 22 16 (1996)
Mourning Dove 2,123 1,683 (1998)
American Pipit 41 5 (1985)
Dark-eyed Junco 2,087 1,697 (1999)
White-crowned Sparrow 4 2 (1998)
Red-winged Blackbird 127 42 (1995)
Pine Grosbeak 288 261 (1977)

A few other changes from previous years are worth mentioning. This year we experienced a decline of about 60% from last year~s count of American Black Ducks. A similar decrease has been seen recently in Rock Doves (some folks might welcome this); this year marked the second lowest count in the past 30 years. Conversely, 13,730 Herring Gulls were observed this year, almost twice last year’s number (7,031).

For results from this count, and for all counts in the past 101 years, see Bird Source on the Audubon website .

2001 Species List

Unusual species or numbers highlighted

Species Number —— Species Number
Common Loon 1 Black-capped Chickadee 1,338
Red-necked Grebe 2 Boreal Chickadee 1
Great Blue Heron 2 Red-breasted Nuthatch 30
Canada Goose 704 White-breasted Nuthatch 50
American Wigeon 2 Brown Creeper 12
American Black Duck 1,007 Golden-crowned Kinglet 76
Mallard 678 Eastern Bluebird 2
Northern Pintail 1 American Robin 32
Green-winged Teal 53 Northern Mockingbird 11
Common Eider 3 American Pipit 41
White-winged Scoter 2 Bohemian Waxwing 9
Black Scoter 8 Cedar Waxwing 35
Long-tailed Duck 2 European Starling 15,638
Common Goldeneye 9 Yellow-breasted Chat 1
Common Merganser 7 American Tree Sparrow 139
Bald Eagle 354 Chipping Sparrow 5
Turkey Vulture 1 Savannah Sparrow 20
Northern Harrier 12 Song Sparrow 269
Northern Goshawk 1 Swamp Sparrow 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk 10 White­throated Sparrow 44
Broad-winged Hawk 1 White-crowned Sparrow 4
Red-tailed Hawk 129 Dark-eyed Junco 2,087
Rough-legged Hawk 4 Snow Bunting 44
American Kestrel 4 Northern Cardinal 6
Merlin 5 Red-winged Blackbird 127
Peregrine Falcon 3 Common Grackle 34
Ring-necked Pheasant 223 Brown-headed Cowbird 59
Ruffed Grouse 3 Baltimore Oriole 1
Killdeer 1 Purple Finch 7
Ring-billed Gull 149 Pine Grosbeak 288
Herring Gull 13,730 White-winged Crossbill 12
Iceland Gull 22 Common Redpoll 1,187
Lesser Black-backed Gull 3 Pine Siskin 75
Great Black-backed Gull 4,048 American Goldfinch 1,438
Rock Dove 656 Evening Grosbeak 138
Mourning Dove 1,683 House Sparrow 653
Barred Owl 4 Wood Duck 1
Downy Woodpecker 73 Glaucous Gull 1
Hairy Woodpecker 42 Great Homed Owl 1
Northern Flicker 30 Fox Sparrow 1
Pileated Woodpecker 2
Horned Lark 240
Gray Jay 5
Blue Jay 1,032
American Crow 9,711
Common Raven 429

Total species: 86

Field Observers (48)
George Alliston, Margaret Alliston, Patricia Bernier, Sherman Boates, Larry Bogan, Soren Bondrup-Nielsen, Mike Boudreau, Dennis Brannen, Renske Buik. Brenda Coldwell, Peggy Crawford, Mark Elderkin, Trina Fitzgerald, George Forsyth, Harold Forsyth, Bernard Forsythe. Merritt Gibson, Paul Illsley, Patrick Kelly, Meg Krawchuk, Angus MacLean, Stella MacLean, Pat Martin, Sheila McCurdy, Randy Milton, Tern Milton, Dawn Miner. Adele Mullie, Rina Nichols, Joe Nocera, Mike O’Brien, Mick O’Neill, Roger Pocklington, Stan Riggs, Barry Sabean, Meg Scheid, Dave Shutler, P.C. Smith, Richard Stern, Phil Taylor, Bill Thexton, Brenda Thexton, Jean Timpa, Judy Tufts. Sherman Williams, Jim Wolford. Lance Woolaver, Barry Yoell

Feeder-Watchers (91)
Agar Adamson, Jim Amos, Diana Anderson, Peter Austin-Smith, Diana Bishop, Sharon Borden. Carol & Ron Buckley. Dick Cain, Lana Churchill, Neil Cloghesy, Sandy Connelly, Chris Cox (2 feeder reports), Debbie & Jim Daigle, Pat Davis, Ruth & Glen Davison, Pat Dix, Ev Eagles, Betty Eaton. Joan Eaton, Paul Elderkin, Wends’ Elliott, Mary Ellis, George F. Forsyth, Hilma Frank, Mary’ Sue Gould ing. Ed Hancock, Charlotte Harper. Eileen Harris, Sharon Harris, Lorna Hart, Gail Herbin, Maxine Hill. Marg & Bob Home, isabel Horton, Winnie Horton. J.P. Huang, Lana lsenor. Shirley Jackson, Dave Jones, Jean Leung. Del & Mac Maclnnes, Ron Margeson, Shirley & Don Marston. Jessie Martin, Pat Martin, Eleanor & Bernard Mason. Sheila McCurdv. Rosaleen McDonald, Terry Murphy, Edna Mutch. Gary Ness. Linda & Andy’ Nette, Nancy Nickerson. Pam & Hugh N ickerson. Linda Pearson, Dorothy Perkin, Janet & Chris Pratt, Mary Pratt. Shirley Prescott. Ladny Richmond. Gordon Robart, Marg Russell, Linda Saeouman. Kathy Schaffner, Ruth Scott, Ed Shvnal, Sandy Stevens. Chris Toplack, Dave Tracy, Gerry Trueman. Judy Tufts, Eva & Deanna & Walter Urban. Gertrude & Mohammed Waseem. Jackie White. Don Wright. Betty Yoell. Shirley & Earl Young

From Blomidon Naturalist Society Newsletter, (Winter 2001) Volume 28, #4, Page 10