Bird Count Reports

Saskatoon Spring Migration Bird Count May 25, 2024

Saskatoon Spring Migration Bird Count
May 25, 2024

by Kerry Hjertaas, and Stan Shadick

On May 25, 2024, fifty-eight participants had a pleasant day for counting, with a mix of sun and cloud and winds remaining below 20km for the whole day. 170 bird species were observed on the count, an increase of one species over 2023, but slightly below the long-term average of 172.

2024 counted 40470 individuals, a significant increase in number of birds counted (115% of long term average), particularly as compared to the previous 5 years (77% of LTA).

Overall waterfowl numbers are up (116% of LTA), but some species show significant variance.  Gadwall count was 886 (265%), the highest value counted since 1992. Other significant changes are Ruddy Duck (182%), Eared Grebe (492%), American Coot (426%), Green-Winged Teal (62%) and Hooded Merganser (17%, just one individual this year). 

Shorebird counts were up even more significantly (174% of LTA), with the standouts being Red-necked Phalarope (339%), Least Sandpiper (332%), and Long-billed Dowitcher (1014%).  Buff-Breasted Sandpipers were unobserved for the 6th year in a row.  11 Short-billed Dowitchers were seen, breaking a 5-year dry spell.

For the 7th year in a row Franklin’s gull count was significantly down from the long term average (16%), though it was up compared to last year (233%).  Ring billed gull count was also low (33% of LTA), but California gulls (340%) were up significantly, primary owing to an abundance of them at the Martensville garbage dump on the day of the count.  Tern counts remain low as well, though Black Terns have increased for the 4th year in a row (196% of 2023 count).

Swallow counts remain overall below the average, with the exception of Purple Martin (121%).  The Bank swallow count is  still below average is up significantly over 2023 (412%), hopefully the start of a trend.

Blackbirds continue to do well, with all being near or above average.  Common Grackle (303%) and Brewer’s Blackbird (170%) being the standouts.

House Finch continues to recover from the effects of Mycoplasmal Conjunctivitis, an eye disease prevalent 5-7 years ago, as their count increased for the 5th year in a row.

2024 represented new high counts for several species: Eurasian Collared-Dove (21), Hairy Woodpecker (25), White-breasted Nuthatch (14), American Tree Sparrow (6), Common Grackle (568) and one species never before seen during the spring bird count, Field Sparrow (1).

Thank you to everyone who participated in the count this year.  We hope you will join us again on future counts.

Kerry Hjertaas, Compiler
Stan Shadick, Organizer

Saskatoon Nature Society

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Box 27013 Grosvenor Park
Saskatoon, SK S7H 5N9

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Saskatoon Nature Society
Box 27013 Grosvenor Park
Saskatoon, SK S7H 5N9