The more things change, the more they remain the same. We held our Stratford Christmas Bird Count weeks earlier than in the past. We counted the birds we could find before Christmas this year on December 18th with Christmas and New Years Day falling on the weekend. Lake Victoria had been unfrozen until just before count day and the weather had been mild, but winter arrived in time for our count.
Over the past four decades the number of species has hovered around 50 species: this year we found 48 species on count day. The number of species has been consistent from year to year, but the individual species vary. Most years some unexpected species present themselves to the observers. We had high numbers of: Canada Goose, Snow Goose – 1,
Cackling Goose – 4, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, American Coot, Wild Turkey – 95, Bald Eagle – 10, Common Raven – 3, Snow Bunting – 1593, and Lapland Longspur – 2. On the other hand, some species were surprisingly uncommon: Red-tailed Hawk – only 19, Rough-legged-Hawk – only 3, Snowy Owl – none, American Robin – 1, Common Redpoll – none, Pine Siskin – none.
We added a number of good birds on count week including: Trumpeter Swan, Turkey Vulture, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Peregrine Falcon, Carolina Wren and Eastern Towhee.
We found 10,865 birds on count day. As a rule, over the past 40 some years, we find 50 species and 10,000 birds on count day, Despite the apparent lack of birdlife our count was typical.