Victoria Christmas Bird Count tallies highest numbers since 2006

2017 event draws biggest participation rate to date

The 2017 annual Christmas Bird Count shows the highest numbers since 2006, according to the early tally of individuals. More than 83,000 birds were spotted.

“We saw 144 species, including two species that have never been seen on a Victoria Christmas Bird Count before – Great Egret and Chipping Sparrow, both in the Martindale Valley (Central Saanich). Other rarities included Mountain Bluebird, Townsend’s Solitaire, Common Redpoll, and Cassin’s Auklet. We didn’t relocate the Clark’s Nutcracker that was seen in Uplands Park a couple of weeks ago,” said regional organizer Ann Nightingale.

In Oak Bay, Geoffrey Newell led 15 bird enthusiasts for the annual Christmas Bird Count. The group identified 83 species for a total of 8,319 birds.

“What we’re trying to do here is learn the trend of bird populations over time, so we can see which species are increasing or declining,” he said the morning of the event. “It’s also very competitive … Victoria believe it or not is right at the top…. most of Canada is frozen in the winter so it’s hard to compete with us.”

In the best participation rate to date, 267 watchers were out in force Saturday, Dec. 16 as another 45 watched their feeders.

“We’re looking forward to next year’s count on Dec. 15, and invite everyone to join in,” Nightingale says.

For those interested in learning more about birds she recommends the Victoria Natural History Society, online at naturevictoria.ca.

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