Wings of Spring: The Spring Bird Count 2009 Summary
The number of species was up in 2009: from 271 in ‘08 to 280; the number of individual birds also went up: from 211,229 to 269,851. In 2008, the most numerous species was Tree Swallow (13,085); second was Red-winged Blackbird (12,625) and third was Franklin’s Gull (11,740). In 2009, Franklin’s Gull moved to first spot, with 37,211. Second was Canada Goose with 13,347 and Red-winged Blackbird dropped to third, with 13,266.
Compiled by Judy Boyd
Last year 17 species were seen in only one location and 12 species were found in only two locations. This year, 27 species were seen in only one location and 12 species were found in only two locations around the province. Of the single sightings: Greater White-fronted Goose, Snow Bunting, Common Redpoll were each seen at Lac La Biche; Cackling Goose at Cold Lake (with a count week bird seen at Taber-Vauxhall); Wild Turkey at Cypress Hills; Great Egret at Brooks; Gyrfalcon at Cardston; Peregrine Falcon at Brooks; Ruddy Turnstone at Lac La Biche; Dunlin and Long-billed Dowitcher at Brooks (for both, a count week bird seen at Calgary); Sabine's Gull at Cold Lake; Northern Pygmy-Owl and Northern Saw-whet Owl at Claresholm; Common Poorwill at Cypress Hills; Lewis's Woodpecker, Red Crossbill at Calgary; Northern Shrike at Medicine Hat; Western Bluebird at Crowsnest Pass; Wood Thrush at Brooks; Bohemian Waxwing at Cardston; Sedge Wren, Nashville Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler at Cold Lake; and Golden-crowned Sparrow at BowKanBirders.
Of the species found in two locations: Tundra Swans at Calgary and Central Alberta; Eurasian Wigeon at Medicine Hat and Cardston; Yellow Rail at Calgary and Cold Lake; Hammond's Flycatcher at Banff and BowKanBirders (with count week birds seen at Crowsnest Pass); Pacific-slope Flycatcher at BowKanBirders and Calgary (with count week birds seen at Crowsnest Pass); Steller’s Jay at Waterton and BowKanBirders; Mourning Warbler at Lac La Biche and Cold Lake; Canada Warbler at Cold Lake and Fort McMurray; Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow at Calgary and Cold Lake; Lapland Longspur at Fort McMurray and Lac La Biche; Rusty Blackbird at Fort McMurray and Lac La Biche (with count week birds seen at Milk River); and Pine Grosbeak at BowKanBirders and Claresholm.
Last year we had seven species seen in all areas – in ’09, only five species: Canada Goose, Mallard, Northern Flicker, American Robin, and Yellow Warbler. Last year four species were found in all but one area and eleven species were observed in all count areas except two. This year three species (Blue-winged Teal, Tree Swallow and Red-winged Blackbird) were found in all areas except one and eleven species (Bufflehead, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, American Crow, Swainson's Thrush, Chipping Sparrow, Clay-coloured Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, and Brown-headed Cowbird) were found in all areas except two.
Watch for the May “Plants in Flower” Species Count 2009 Summary in an upcoming Nature Alberta!
SPRING COUNTS FUN!
Interested in Birds or Flowers? You can join in the 2010 Spring Bird and Flower Counts which are held the last week of May. Taking part in the counts is fun, plus a great way to learn to identify the different species. And remember: all levels – from beginners to pros – are very welcome and encouraged to sign up. Check with your local naturalist club or nature centre.