A cedar waxwing counted during Williams Lake’s 2017 annual Christmas bird count. This year the bird count will be taking place on Sunday, Dec. 15 and the Williams Lake Field Naturalists will be out counting as many bird species as they can from sunup to sunset and call upon all lakecity birdwatchers to do the same. (Photo submitted)

A cedar waxwing counted during Williams Lake’s 2017 annual Christmas bird count. This year the bird count will be taking place on Sunday, Dec. 15 and the Williams Lake Field Naturalists will be out counting as many bird species as they can from sunup to sunset and call upon all lakecity birdwatchers to do the same. (Photo submitted)

Williams Lake Field Naturalists ready for 52nd annual Christmas bird count this Sunday

All lakecity birdwatchers are encouraged to contribute to this effort

The Williams Lake Field Naturalist will be holding their 52nd annual Christmas bird count on Sunday, Dec. 15.

As usual, we rely heavily on people in the count area to phone in or email their bird feeder reports or any other sightings of interest during the day. We expect to have over 30 participants in the field on count day who will be happy to help with identifying any birds you may be unsure of.

The count area covers a 12 km radius from downtown Williams Lake which includes Wildwood south to Flett subdivision on the Dog Creek Road, and from the Moon Ranch at Meldrum Creek to Frontier Estates at 150 Mile House in the east.

Results of the count are submitted to Birds Canada and Audubon where they are entered into a database along with over 2,000 other counts across the Americas. These results, going back as far as 1900, are used by conservation biologists and naturalists to assess the population trends and distribution of birds.

It’s hard to predict the outcome of these events due to many variables like weather conditions, snow cover, amount of open water remaining on Williams Lake, available food supply and often the erratic distribution of flocks that come down from the north to winter in the area.

Read More: Take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count this Saturday

This winter Bohemian Waxwings have been particularly scarce after two years of abundance where they have made up about 40 per cent of the overall count numbers. The waxwings have a food preference for mountain ash berries which seem to have had a particularly poor crop this year.

Also scarce this year are the forest finches which often have widely fluctuating numbers. These ‘irruptive’ species like Red Crossbills, White-winged Crossbills, Pine Siskins, Common Redpolls and Pine and Evening Grosbeaks can be locally abundant some winters, but all seem to be in short supply or absent this year.

Last year’s count was the second-best ever in terms of overall numbers with a little under 6,000 birds tallied but only slightly above the average of 53 species. This included two new species to the count with two Gadwall, a common duck at other times of the year, and 10 Cedar Waxwings which have normally departed for the winter before the Bohemians arrive.

People who regularly feed birds reported very few birds were attending their feeders last year, possibly due to lack of snow cover and available food elsewhere. Of particular concern following last year’s count was the very low numbers of our common woodpeckers. Fluctuations in numbers can often be cyclic and we are hoping the numbers will have rebounded.

To report the birds at your feeder on Dec. 15 please phone (250) 392-7680 after 6 p.m. on count day, or for more information on the Williams Lake Christmas bird count contact Phil Ranson at (250) 398-7110 or ranson1@telus.net.

Phil Ranson is a member of the Williams Lake Field Naturalists



patrick.davies@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson speaking in the legislature Monday, May 10. (Video screen shot)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA calls for rural infrastructure renewal fund

Lorne Doerkson said central parts of rural B.C. devastated by flooding, crumbling infrastructure

(File photo)
Firearms offence at McLeese Lake tree planting camp under RCMP investigation

On May 10 Williams Lake RCMP were called to the camp, located at the 2200 block of Beaver Lake Rd.

Lil Mack has been a member of Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy since its inception. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Lil Mack of Williams Lake honoured with BC Achievement Community Award

Mack has been an ever-present, quietly powerful literacy force in Williams Lake for several decades

Thompson Rivers University (TRU) announced Tuesday, May 11 that all washrooms on its Kamloops and Williams Lake campuses will have free menstrual products by September. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
TRU to provide free hygiene products in all washrooms by fall 2021

“By signing the United Way’s Promise campaign, TRU aims to reduce barriers facing some students.”

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

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

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

Most Read