A wild turkey flies in for the count. This year

A wild turkey flies in for the count. This year

Bird numbers up in annual holiday count

Seventy four people counted 3,927 individual birds during the 34th annual Lake Windermere District Christmas Bird Count.

Seventy four people counted 3,927 individual birds during the 34th annual Lake Windermere District Christmas Bird Count. The number of birds is up by 47 per cent from last year.

Some of the increase can be attributed to high number Bohemian Waxwings and Common Redpolls. The total of 52 species recorded this year matches the average seen during the last 10 years of the count.

Some of this year’s highlights include a new species for the count.

Dean and Bill Nicholson observed two Trumpeter Swans in the open water at Athalmer. They also spotted a lone Hooded Merganser which has only been recorded five times in the history of the count.

Many of the feeder watchers commented on the lack of birds, however, one hot spot was Ron Speta’s yard.

He said “in the 25 years of watching my feeder, this has been the best.”

Speta recorded 16 species.

Troy Rad once again ventured into the high country and found a couple of White-tailed Ptarmigan.

Elijah and Haley Bowels were delighted to see eight American Robins in their grandma Luciel Campbell’s yard.

Fran Kimpton saw an unusual bird and after some study it turned out to be a partly albino Mountain Chickadee.

There is also another ‘mystery’ bird in  Linda Taylor’s  yard. From the description it may be a Northern Hawk Owl but it needs a little further investigation to confirm.

Thanks to Greg Wagner a visiting birder from High River whose keen ears found the only Northern Pygmy Owl near Eileen Madson School.

A couple of birds that were noticeably missing were the Great Blue Heron and Common Merganser.

Birds spotted in record high numbers (or whose count matches previous record highs) are:

Trumpeter Swan — 2

Turkey Vulture — 1

Red-tailed Hawk — 1

Golden Eagle — 2

Other species spotted include:

Canada Goose — 138

Mallard — 460

Bald Eagle — 20

Ruffled Grouse — 7

Rock Pigeon — 5

Mourning Dove — 4

Downy Woodpecker — 20

Hairy Woodpecker — 14

Northern Flicker — 60

American Crow — 40

Black-billed Magpie — 23

Common Raven — 323

Bohemian Waxwing — 1,245

Mountain Chickadee — 195

House Finch — 287

Common Redpoll — 384

Dark-eyed Junco — 50

Evening Grossbeak — 65

Song Sparrow — 13

Wild Turkey — 36

Bufflehead — 3

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