Kris Andrews spotted this Northern Pygmy Owl on White Road during last year’s annual Christmas bird count.

Kris Andrews spotted this Northern Pygmy Owl on White Road during last year’s annual Christmas bird count.

Christmas Bird Count Sunday

Sunday, Dec. 14 will mark the 47th consecutive year the Williams Lake Field Naturalists have conducted the Christmas Bird Count.

Sunday, Dec. 14 will mark the 47th consecutive year the Williams Lake Field Naturalists have conducted the Christmas Bird Count and 115 years since the original count was undertaken in 1900.

Since that time the number of counts have grown to the current 2,300 across North and Central America.

From its inception year in 1969 until 2000, data from the Williams Lake count was submitted to the provincial government, either the Fish and Wildlife Branch or the provincial museum.

Since 2000, data has been submitted to Birds Studies Canada and the Audubon Society who jointly administer the collection and distribution of the vast array of information obtained over the Christmas period.

Since the first count in 1969, the field naturalists have recorded about 120,000 birds of 119 species on the single day census run between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5.

Numbers of birds and species vary from year to year with a scant 21 species tallied the first year to a high count of 62 species in 2008.

Several factors play an important role in the number of birds seen; from the numbers of observers in the field, to weather conditions on the day and in the preceding weeks.

Snow and ice conditions can determine availability and accessibility of food supply as well as variables like cone seed and berry crops.

A good fir and spruce cone crop last winter, as well as an ample supply of juniper berries resulted in a bumper year for both the fir seed eating Red Crossbills and the Townsend’s Solitaire which rely heavily on juniper berries for winter sustenance.

It was a record year for Solitaires with 85 counted which was not only the best total for this area but was also the highest on any count in Canada.

Red Crossbills which were quite common last winter have yet to be reported this season and indications are that Solitaires numbers are also down due in part to a poor berry crop.

Last year’s count of 3,953 birds of 47 species was below the 10-year average of 4,200 birds of 53 species and it’s difficult to predict what will turn up on Sunday, Dec. 14.

Even with the relatively low numbers last year there were still nine species which occurred in record high numbers, many of these at bird feeders.

With the early date of this year’s count there’s always the hope there will be some open water on Williams Lake to add to the variety of birds seen.

Bird feeders attract not only our more common species but also provide us with some quite unusual birds in winter.

The Scarlet Tanager frequenting a Terra Ridge feeder on the 2012 count was a once in a lifetime occurrence.

Feeder watchers contribute greatly to the count and the field naturalists encourage everyone with a feeder to let us know what they see on count day.

The count area is a 24 kilometre circle centred in downtown Williams Lake.

For more information on the Williams Lake Christmas Bird Count please contact Phil Ranson at 250 398-7110 or

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kari, a 12-year-old Belted Galloway, produced triplets Wednesday, April 28 at Bridge Creek Ranch. (Kelly Sinoski photo -100 Mile Free Press).
Holy cow: triplets born in 100 Mile House

Linda and Don Savjord witnessed a rare experience last week at Bridge Creek Ranch.

Fireman’s Fairways between Chimney and Felker lakes is slated to open soon, following a clean up work bee this Sunday, May 9 starting at 10 a.m. (Photo submitted)
Cleanup slated for Sunday, May 9 at Fireman’s Fairways Golf Course

Fireman’s Fairway is an 11-hole, par 3 course, opened in 1994

A vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The White House says it is making plans to share up to 60 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 11,075 since the pandemic began

Williams Lake City Hall. (City of Williams Lake photo)
Williams Lake long-term debt decreasing

The city of Williams Lake’s long-term debt sits at $8,324,241, down from… Continue reading

Lakers Car Club members Paul Christianson (from left), Jake Derksen and Frank Ruyter stand alongside a 1977 Rolls Royce the club will be auctioning off in lieu of the annual Spring Roundup. (Photo submitted)
Lakers Car Club raffling 1977 Rolls Royce in lieu of annual Spring Roundup

The Lakers would like to the thank the residents and businesses of Williams Lake for their support

FILE – Pharmacist Barbara Violo shows off a vile of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Friday, March 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Looking for the nearest COVID shot? Tech entrepreneur creates texting software in B.C

Zain Manji says app took just one or two hours to create

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

More than half of youth hockey players and coaches say disrespect to women is a problem in Canada’s sport, according to a new survey. (Pixabay)
Misogyny, racism and bullying prevalent across Canadian youth hockey, survey finds

56% of youth hockey players, coaches say disrespect to women is a problem in the sport

RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by as protesters opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion block rail lines, in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, November 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
Two cougars killed following attack in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

Most Read