Bird Count Reports
Saskatoon Spring Migration Bird Count
May 23, 2015
by Kyron Giroux
The Saskatoon Nature Society’s 2015 May Day bird count took place on May 23rd this year. The weather was warm with a high of 27° C, a mostly clear sky, and almost no wind, although many water levels were still high from previous years; it was a very dry day. All in all, it was a pretty average count; a total of fifty-one people went out and counted 29,754 birds, slightly lower than the long-term mean of 32,304, with two of the areas not being done at all this year. However, there was a total species count of 177, which is slightly higher than the long-term mean of 175.
The geese, duck and grebe numbers were right around average, nothing too surprising except for a single Greater White-fronted Goose, one Cinnamon Teal, and a lack of Common Loons. There were two White-faced Ibis counted this year, only the second time ever they have been found during the count.
Shorebird numbers were incredibly low this year, with a total of 4,088 shorebirds counted, far lower than their long-term mean of 8,625, partially due to the low number of peeps found, with a total of 499 peeps counted, also far lower than their long-term mean of 4,631, it is also partially due to the still high water levels, and a lack of shoreline in many areas. Surprisingly, the number of Black-necked Stilts reached an all-time high of 18, more than doubling their previous high of 7.
Gull & Tern numbers were slightly down this year, with only 2,235 individuals being counted, down almost 30% from their long-term mean of 3,143.
The birds of prey are another group that was slightly lower than average, with 170 individuals being counted, and the long-term mean being 222. However, there were a few surprising birds of prey, including a Broad-winged Hawk, a Short-eared Owl, and even a Northern Goshawk.
There were 15 species of warblers counted, with a total of 1,171 individuals, higher than the long-term mean of 790. Unfortunately, almost all of the warbler species were represented by only a few individual birds. With a count of 1,043, Yellow Warblers made up 89% of all the warblers counted. Some surprising species of warblers found include, 2 Magnolia Warbler, 1 Cape May Warbler, 1 Blackburnian Warbler and 1 Wilson’s Warbler.
A surprising number of Sparrows were counted, with 14 species, and 1,655 individuals, again higher than the long-term mean of 1,360. This is mostly due to high numbers of Chipping Sparrows and Clay-colored Sparrows. With 14 species there were a few interesting species as well, including, 3 Lincoln’s Sparrows, 1 Harris’s Sparrow, 1 Fox Sparrow and 1 Dark-eyed Junco.
Blackbird numbers counted are higher than normal, with 3,896 individuals, a fair amount higher than the mean of 3100. This is partially due to the large number of Red-winged Blackbirds counted, with 1,508 individuals, the highest they’ve been on the count since 1988.
Finch numbers were also up this year, with a total of 517 individuals, and the long-term mean being 339. This was helped by an above average number of American Goldfinches and House Finches. There was a surprising pair of White-winged Crossbills found this year.
You can download the complete tabulated report here:
Saskatoon Nature Society
Connecting People and Nature
Saskatoon Nature Society
Box 448, RPO University
Saskatoon, SK S7N 4J8