Bird Count Reports
Saskatoon Spring Migration Bird Count
May 27, 2017
by Kyron Giroux
The annual spring bird count took place on May 27th, 2017. It was a cool day, reaching a high of 13°C; the morning was great for birding, however, it got very windy in the afternoon. A total of fifty-three people participated, the most people out on a spring count since 2006. Even with the number of participants, the number of birds was lower than average with 26,150 individual birds counted, 5,800 birds lower than the long-term mean. The low number count is likely due in part to the high wind speeds, reaching 39 km/h and gusting up to 52 km/h. There was a total of 174 different species reported, tying the long-term average.
There were high numbers of ducks and geese, which boosted the count numbers a bit. There was a total of 7,202 individuals reported, surpassing the average of 4,964. Blue-winged Teal numbers reached an all-time high with 866 individuals, the previous record was 825 in 1992. Mallard with 1,029 individuals, and Northern Shoveler with 1,086 individuals both passed their long-term means of 629 and 486 respectively by a wide margin. Surprisingly there was only a single Ring-necked Duck reported, the lowest count ever for this species.
For the most part, bird of prey numbers were around average, however, there were a few surprises. Turkey Vultures reported an all-time high with 32 individuals, surpassing the old record of 12 in 2012/2014. Red-tailed Hawks counted an all-time low with 35 individuals, possibly due in part to the high wind speeds. A single Bald Eagle, a single Ferruginous Hawk, a single Broad-winged Hawk and two Long-eared Owls were also reported.
Surprisingly, corvid numbers were quite high this year with 1,225 individuals. Black-billed Magpies had 468 individuals counted, the highest count since 1992. Common Raven numbers reached an all-time high, with 153 reported, just barely passing the old record of 147 in 2013.
A total of 14 different warbler species were reported, with 1,125 individuals, a little above the average of 815. As with most years, the highest reported was the Yellow Warbler with 955 individuals which was lower than the last few years, but still higher than the long-term mean of 579. The warbler with the second highest count was the Tennessee Warbler with 78 counted, the highest count since 2008. For the second year in a row there were a few Yellow-breasted Chats counted.
Sparrow and finch numbers were close to average. There were 12 species of native sparrows reported, including a single Baird’s Sparrow. There were 5 species of finches reported, including White-winged Crossbills.
Saskatoon Nature Society
Connecting People and Nature
Saskatoon Nature Society
Box 448, RPO University
Saskatoon, SK S7N 4J8