[Ontbirds] Summary of the Hamilton Christmas Bird Count

Tom Thomas tthomas at cogeco.ca
Fri Jan 3 09:32:47 EST 2014




        This is the summary of the 2013 Hamilton Christmas Bird Count, held
on Boxing Day December 26th.


        99 enthusiastic birders set off in great anticipation, either to
count birds in the field, or watch birds coming to they're feeder. Some were
out in the very early hours listening for owls.


        Temperatures ranged from -4 to -1, with only a slight breeze. The
day began with light snow falling, but by mid morning the snow trailed off,
and the sun peaked through.


          Most ponds were ice covered, and the western end of the harbor was
ice covered in a line from the Ship Canal to Stelco. Trails were icy and
slick from the remnants of the ice storm on the weekend of December 21st.
and food sources, Buckthorn, Multiflora rose hips, and even Staghorn  Sumac
were covered in a thick layer of ice.


             The total species count is 99, but this could change pending
the confirmation of a certain species. The 10 year average for species
totals is 101.


             The number of individual birds counted is 51,989. The 10 year
average for individual birds counted is 67,228. 


             Weather always plays a part in any bird count, and the 2013
count was affected by the icy conditions in the bay, and local ponds.
Sometimes this brings in more birds to feeders, and it certainly brought in
Bald Eagles, much earlier than usual, and were seen in numbers sitting on
the ice in the bay.


   We had record counts for Black-crowned Night Heron with 11 counted, the
old record was 10 in 1991.

                                                   Bald Eagle with 11
counted, the old record was 9 in 2008.

                                                   Merlin with 5 counted,
the old record was 4 in 2012.

                                                   Lesser Black-backed Gull
with 4 equals the record count for this species.

                                                   Red-bellied Woodpecker
with 83 counted, the old record was 82.

                                                   Fox Sparrow with 4
counted would be a record, but I need more information on this sighting.


    As you can imagine with the icy conditions, we had low counts across the
board for waterfowl, but the following species were well
represented...Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Trumpeter Swan,
and Red-breasted Merganser. 


    It was an above average year for Raptors, with good counts for
Red-tailed Hawks, and Rough-legged Hawks, but the count for American
Kestrels again showed the marked decline in this species as we only counted
5, which is near the all time low count.


    Gull numbers were down, except for the previous stated Lesser
Black-backed gull, and Greater Black-backed Gull, with 354 counted, with the
10 year average being 85.


Birds on the comeback, after years of decline.....Blue Jay, European
Starling, Winter wren (2nd highest count).


     There were above average counts for Snow Buntings and Brown -headed
Cowbirds, but overall passerine numbers were below average, with hardly any
Winter Finches, which was expected due to the good food supply in the north.
Red breasted Nuthatch numbers were surprisingly low, with only 9 counted,
with the ten year average for this species being 49.


Count week birds so far..... Red-necked Grebe, Horned Grebe, King Eider, and
Orange-crowned Warbler.


      Due to the severity of the ice storm, I probably missed some calls
from willing participants. If I failed to contact you, I apologize and hope
we can get together next time around.


       The full report with all the species and numbers will follow shortly.



      My sincere thanks to all those that graciously volunteered their time
for this fun and worthy cause............T. 















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