The Lillooet Naturalist Society’s December’s Christmas Bird Count spotted three notable species – the Short-eared Owl, Blue Jay and Peregrine Falcon – that were seen for only the second time in the 19-year history of the local Bird Count.
“No new species were seen for this year, but those three more than make up for that,” said count organizer Ian Routley, who was the primary compiler of statistics for the count.
Lillooet’s dedicated birders spotted 56 species on Count Day, Dec. 26, and a total of 2,508 birds. Six other species were spotted during Count Week.
With three days left in Count Week, Naturalist Society President Vivian Birch-Jones asked the birders to keep a watchful eye out for species that have been seen on more than 60 per cent of previous counts, but were missing in the 2018 count. They included the Common Goldeneye, gulls, the Mourning Dove, Great Horned Owl, Canada Jay, Bohemian Waxwing, Evening Grosbeak and Common Redpoll.
Species that were well-represented in this year’s Christmas Bird Count included the Canada Goose (67 observed), Bufflehead (43), Eurasian Collared-Dove (54). Black-billed Magpie (57), American Crow (157), Common Raven (106), Black-capped Chickadee (108), American Robin (241), European Starling (180). House finch (105) and Dark-eyed Junco (638).
Thirty-two observers were out in the field for the count, while one participated in the count at a bird feeder.
The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is a census of birds in the western hemisphere, conducted annually by volunteer birdwatchers and administered by the National Audubon Society.
The purpose of the count is to provide population data for use by scientists, especially in conservation biology, though many people participate for recreation. The CBC is the longest-running citizen science survey in the world.