Bird Count Reports
Saskatoon Fall Migration Bird Count
by Kiron Giroux
The Saskatoon Nature Society’s 2014 fall bird count took place on Saturday, September 6th. Unfortunately, it was a low year for both birds and participants, with one of the sectors not being done at all.
There was a total of 29,973 birds counted, which was the lowest count since 1995. It was however a high count species wise, with 153 species. Including 2 new species added to the fall count list, Upland Sandpiper (1) seen by May Haga, and Yellow-throated Vireo (1) seen by Scott Mitchell. Of the 153 species, 30 were counted by only one team, and many were represented by only one or two birds.
One of the contributors to the low count was the low numbers of ducks & geese, reaching only 63% of the long-term mean. Goose numbers were all below average, with the exception of the Cackling Goose (93), which was at its second highest count. Duck species were all lower than average except for a couple of species, Canvasback (204), and Northern Shoveler (417), which were slightly higher than average.
Due to high water levels there was almost no habitat for shorebirds so numbers were low this year, reaching only 52% of average. There were only thirteen species of shorebirds counted, a low species count, and of those thirteen species, only two counted above average, Killdeer (142), and Semipalmated Plover (17). Of course there was the Upland Sandpiper (1) as well, which was a new bird to the count.
There were 19 species of warblers counted, even with that high of a species count, the total number of warblers was down to just 30% of normal. The Yellow-rumped Warbler (99), our most common warbler at this time of the year counted far lower than the long-term mean of 636, and were at the lowest they’ve been since 2004 (97).
Sparrow numbers were also low this year, reaching only 55% of average. There were twelve species counted, and only two counted higher than average. Clay-colored Sparrow (55) was just slightly higher than average, and the Lincoln’s Sparrow (62), which set a new record, beating its old count of 49 in 1996.
There were however some birds that counted higher than previous years. Grebe numbers were all above average, with the exception of Western Grebes (11). Mourning Doves counted high this year, with 308, more than doubling their long-term mean of 121. Both the Western Kingbird (6) and the Eastern Kingbird (21) were in higher numbers than previous years, and both of them beat their previous record counts by a single bird. Bank Swallows were a surprising find for two of the teams, counting 155, much higher than the previous record of 8 in 2008. Purple Finches (15), House Finches (88), and American Goldfinches (295) were all slightly higher than average this year..
You can download the complete tabulated report here:
Saskatoon Nature Society
Connecting People and Nature
Saskatoon Nature Society
Box 27013 Grosvenor Park
Saskatoon, SK S7H 5N9