The Christmas Bird Count, which began in 1900, is North America’s longest-running Citizen Science project. Volunteers head out on a single day (between December 14 and January 5), to count the number and variety of species within a 24-km diameter circle. The results are collated and used by naturalists and conservation biologists to study trends in the populations and distributions of birds.

The Val-des Monts count is centred on Lac McGregor, including most of the municipality and the Northeast corner of the municipality of Cantley. Nakkertok North, the Arbraska adventure park and the Blanche river provide nature areas to explore during the count. This year’s count corresponded with the open house at Nakkertok, and was organised by Deborah Doherty, with the support of Amy Lawes.

Fourteen (14) counters covered a total of 323km – by car, snowshoe, ski, and on foot. Feeder observations were also recorded. The general feeling from all participants seemed to be that bird activity was low, however 796 birds were counted, of 27 species in total (+two extra in count week (cw)). This is 3rd highest total species in the eight (8) years that this count has been conducted.

Below is a full list of all species seen, with total numbers. There were high counts for three (3) species: Evening Grosbeak: 14 (up from 2), Northern Cardinal: 4 (up from 1), and Downy Woodpecker: 18 (up from 16). However, it was a low year for Dark Eyed Juncos, with a count of 3,  the lowest in previous counts being 15. Also notably missing were American Tree Sparrows which have been seen on five (5) of the seven (7) previous counts.

If you would like to be added to the contact list for the count in 2020, please email
debdoherty84@gmail.com or amy_jane_lawes@hotmail.com.

For further details on the history of the count, to explore historical data from all counts, or to find details of other counts, please visit this link.