[Ontbirds]2005 Niagara Falls ON/NY CBC

Diane and Kayo Roy kayoroy at niagara.com
Thu Jan 5 14:27:55 EST 2006

The 40th annual Niagara Falls Ontario/New York State CBC was held on Sunday. December 27, 2005.  This Count is centered at Queenston, ON. with one half of the circle in Ontario and the other half in New York State, with the Niagara River running through the center of the count circle.  On Count Day, participants observed 90 species and 36,596 individuals.  Three additional species were located during the Count Week period.  The number of species is slightly below average, but the number of individuals is clearly lower than usual.  No doubt the snow and colder weather of the two middle weeks of December resulted in some birds moving out of the area.  Count day was for the most part overcast with light winds and temperatures of 0 degrees C to plus 3 degrees C.  Streams and creeks were open, and there was perhaps a couple of inches of snow on the ground.

One new species, Red-shouldered Hawk, was added to the Count, raising to 165 the cumulative total of species observed over the 40 years.  Wood Duck and Northern Shoveler both observed for the fourth time, and Black-headed Gull a fifth record.

Record Highs:
Red-throated Loon, 65, previous high of 21 in 2003
Mute Swan, 7, previous high of 5 in 2003
Red-breasted Merganser, 1100, more than double the previous high of 544 in 1993
Red-bellied Woodpecker, 58, increasing by about 10% every year
Tufted Titmouse, 25, previous high of 18 in the years 1994, 1996,& 2001
Winter Wren, 16, tied with 16 observed in 1992.

Record Lows"
Often referred to as the gull capital of Canada, 10 gull species were reported this year on the Niagara River.  While this was great for this year, it should however be noted that we experienced a 15 year low in the number of individuals of three commonly seen gull species.
Bonaparte's Gull, only 1321 vs record high of 26187 in 1991
Ring-billed Gull, only 1957 vs record high of 14062 in 1990
Herring Gull, only 3469 vs record high of 27464 in 1990.  The average for these three species is normally about four to five times the numbers observed this year.
Other low numbers included:
American Black Duck, 27, an 11 year low
Northern Mockingbird, 38, a 10 year low
American Tree Sparrow, 311, a 15 year low
Red-winged Blackbird, 2, a 10 year low
House Finch, 238, a 20 year low
House Sparrow, 1257, a 20 year low. 
Species missed:
Winter finches (Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin etc) were not observed in the area, Horned Lark was not reported, Yellow-rumped Warbler, absent for the first time in 10 years, and Ring-necked Pheasant breaks a 17 year record of being found for the count.  

My sincere appreciation to all the participants and a special "Thank You" to Willie D'Anna, who once again organized the counters for me on the US side of the count. 

Kayo Roy

Kayo Roy
13 Kinsman Court
Fonthill, ON
L0S 1E3
kayoroy at niagara.com

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