When Salt Spring Bird Count coordinator Tim Marchant provided his answers to the questions as the March/April 2017 Aqua magazine subject, he went a little over the word limit, so some parts could not be included in print.
However, we wanted people to be able to see what was excluded, so it’s posted here.
Also — if you’d like more information or to sign-up to count in the Christmas Bird Count in future, please contact Tim Marchant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Do you have any funny bird count anecdotes to share?
A. I think the birds probably have a bunch of stories they tell about the funny humans chasing them around and making notes. My favourite is from this year’s count. It has been a family tradition for our two daughters and I to participate in the count, but this year one of them is in New Zealand exploring the south island. So, while the other daughter and I counted here on Salt Spring (starting at 11 a.m. on Dec. 18), she counted 700 metres up the side of Mount Cook (starting at 8 a.m. on Dec. 19 . . . 21 hours ahead, at the same time as us). Three-ish hours later, at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 18 (Salt Spring time) she emailed her “official count” report.
Not Sighted Today
rock wren – 10
(but common on Mt Cook)
tui – 3
black birds – 2
LBB chirps in the bush – 134
greyish big birds – 2
black back gull
tomtit – 1
I think it worked out brilliantly. She did a fine job considering it was all in fun and she doesn’t know any of the species down there. I believe she had a helper, someone she has met down there, hence the hint of realism.
LBB stands for “little brown bird,” and is not officially allowed in count reporting, but is widely used by most of us in real life.
Q. Why is it important to conduct annual bird counts?
A. The canary in the coal mine comes to mind. Annual reporting has recently documented the local winter residence of two previously absent species — Anna’s Hummingbird and the Eurasion-collared Dove. The hummers have expanded their range northward and started to over-winter. The doves were introduced to North America from Eurasia via the Caribbean, and have spread right across the continent and north now as far a Vancouver. Below are the 15-year histories for these two compared to some common local species. Some comments that arise are:
Anna’s Hummingbird – first CBC count 2004.
Eurasian-collared Dove – first CBC count 2011.
Bufflehead – very consistent by CBC standards.
Common Merganser – where’d they all come from this year?
California Quail – where’d they all go this year?
Junco are our “most-counted” species.