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North Bay’s 43rd consecutive Christmas Bird Count

by | Jan 5, 2022

A Belted Kingfisher finally showed up at the North Bay Christmas Bird Count with 42 species recorded Saturday, December 18, 2021. Last year, a Wild Turkey and Peregrine Falcon were the newbies on the list even though none are new to the area.

It was the area’s 43rd consecutive participation in a North American tradition with annual Audubon counts recorded for the past 121 years. The data collected in North Bay and over 2,000 other locations in the western hemisphere is combined with data from other surveys and used by researchers to determine long-term trends in bird populations.

In North Bay this year, 3,553 birds were seen by 41 participants in the event organized by the Nipissing Naturalists Club.

Belted Kingfisher- Renee Levesque

Northern Cardinal – Rick Tripp

Dick Tafel said the North Bay count was “considerably above average” while explaining how they are careful to guard against duplications by spreading out feeder-watchers and field observers.

“The count is amazingly consistent – covering in every region the same 15-mile (24 kilometre) diameter circle,” Tafel said, noting locally the centre point is Dugas Bay, Trout Lake and it stretches into East Ferris and Callander.

Other notable sightings included a Barred Owl (again), seven duck species (in the still open waters of Trout Lake, including two loons still about), three woodpecker species, nine Bald Eagles, and well over 600 Black-capped Chickadees, again this area’s most common bird, he said.


Snow Bunting, Renee Levesque

Pine Grosbeak, Grant McKercher

“There were also spotted some 350 Snow Buntings, a not always present winter bird around these parts.”

“In Ontario last year 126 similar counts were held, finding 182 species of birds – over 1,200,000 birds altogether. Some 2,000 similar counts take place annually now, in North America.”

To start the millennium, North Bay had the highest number of participants in the world with a staggering 1,000 taking part in 2000.

See the 2020 story at BayToday HERE.

Common Redpolls, Stephen O’Donnell

Dave Dale
Dave Dale

Writer, photographer and proud father. My mom’s family is from the Soo with its Algoma Highlands, dad hailed from Cobden in the Ottawa Valley and I spent my teen years in Capreol. Summers were at the beach on the Vermillion River and winters at ‘The Rink.’ Born in East York but Toronto never was my thing. Ever since a kid looking out the window on long trips, I imagined living on the highway in a little house with a big yard and trees growing all around me.

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