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Christmas Bird Count 2015

On Sunday, December 20th, 2015, forty nine members and friends of the Peterborough Field Naturalists conducted the Annual Peterborough Christmas Bird Count; a Christmas tradition since at least 1953. Forty five people spent all or part of the day in the field. The first field party was out at 4:30am listening and calling for nocturnal owls. By 8:15 am all the field participants were out walking the trails, scanning the Otonabee River and driving the roads in search of birds. Three other people kept track of birds visiting their yard and feeders, and Don Finigan monitored the PFN feeders in Ecology Park.

At the end of the day most of the participants gathered for a hot meal (photos at right are courtesy of Brian Wales) to review the highlights of the day, and to compile the final results. The participants recorded a total of 58 species of birds, representing 16,558 individuals.

The warm weather in December resulted in an abundance of waterbirds, where 13 new highs were established and a new species was added. This is the second – highest number of individuals recorded on the Peterborough CBC, with the high being 62 species in 2006. The total number of individuals represented a new high.

The new species for the count was Cackling Goose. It was found on the Otonabee River north of Peterborough by the groups consisting of Dave Milsom, Iain Rayner and Anne Anthony. This brings the total number of species seen on the Peterborough CBC to 128 species.

Count Highs:

  • Canada Goose – 3795 (previous was 2244 on the 1999 count, with an average of 559 in the previous ten years)
  • Northern Shoveler – 4 (previous high was 1 on the 1974 & 1982 counts, with an average of zero over the previous ten years)
  • Redhead – 2 (previous high was 1 on the 1983 & 1990 counts, with an average of zero over the previous ten years)
  • Bufflehead – 13 (previous high was 5 on the 1999 count, with an average of 0.6 over the previous ten years)
  • Hooded Merganser – 15 (previous high was 9 on the 1962 count, with an average of 2.9 over the previous ten years)
  • Ring-billed Gull – 399 (previous high was 306 on the 2011 count, with an average of 119 over the previous ten years)
  • Eastern Screech Owl – 4 (previous high was 3 on the 2012 count, with an average of 1.21 over the previous ten years – special thanks to the pre-dawn owlers)
  • Belted Kingfisher – 4 (previous high was 2 on five different counts, with an average of 1.3 over the previous ten years)
  • Pileated Woodpecker – 17 (previous high was 14 on the 1992. 2012 & 2013 counts with an average of 7.5 over the previous ten years)
  • American Crow – 813 (previous high was 621 on the 2011 count, with an average of 462 over the previous ten years)
  • Black-capped Chickadee – 2044 (previous high was 1951 on the 2012 count, with an average of 1643 over the previous ten years)
  • White-breasted Nuthatch – 138 (previous high was 116 on the 1973 count, with an average of 73 over the previous ten years)
  • Purple Finch – 60 (previous high was 52 on the 1992 count, with an average of 7.6 over the previous ten years)

Download the full results: Final Count Results 2015 (17KB)