2021 Pakenham-Arnprior CBC

It is remarkable quickly this count arrives each year, and even more remarkable, how quickly Count Day passes! Each year a few of the Pakenham-Arnprior CBC’s regular participants cannot make the Count but thankfully there always are a few newcomers that step in to fill the gaps. That was certainly the case this year. 

Expectations for a good count were high with the starting temperature holding at only a couple of degrees below the freezing point, and more importantly the wind was non-existent. Calm conditions allow participants to hear birds that fly and call overhead just as the day begins to brighten. Additionally, a massive crop of Wild Grape, Buckthorn, and Hawthorn fruit this fall created hope that some bird such as a Northern Flicker might linger.

That hope was realized when Alberto Suárez discovered a Northern Flicker in his backyard! In addition to the woodpecker, a new species for the Count, Alberto tallied a group of Eastern Bluebirds, only the second time recorded on the Count. They were not the only bluebirds tallied that day; Ethan McCann and Rachel Clouthier also found a few near Blakeney, bringing the total tallied to seven. Ethan and Rachel made an even bigger find at Pakenham­—a male Redhead. This species, new for the Count, and Alberto’s flicker brought the all-time species total to 130! 

Other highlights included an adult Peregrine Falcon (2nd record), first discovered roosting on the Catholic Church by Ryan Zimmerling on the first day of Count Week and tallied on Count Day by Ben Di Labio. Paul Smith found a Northern Harrier near Cedar Hill, a 6th record for the Count, and a Hooded Merganser, courtesy of Maureen and Paul Carrier, and a Belted Kingfisher, tallied by Ryan Zimmerling and me, constituted the 10th record for both species. In total, 57 species were tallied, slightly above our ten-year average of 54 species, with an additional species—a Red-breasted Merganser—seen during Count Week (three days on either side of the Count) but not on Count day.

Record numbers of Merlins (5), Eastern Bluebirds (7), and American Crows (1,330) were notable. A heartfelt thankyou to all 36 field observers and 12 feeder watchers for making this another successful Christmas Bird Count, my 56th consecutive one. I look forward to seeing you on the 2022 Pakenham-Arnprior CBC and wish you the best of health and myriad exciting birds in the New Year. 

                                                          Michael Runtz

                                                             2 Jan 2022

Pakenham-Arnprior CBC

26 December 2021

9          Canada Goose

1          American Black Duck

66        Mallard

1**      Redhead

76        Common Goldeneye

1          Hooded Merganser (10th)

20        Common Merganser         

19        Ruffed Grouse

755      Wild Turkey

1          Northern Harrier (6th)

1          Sharp-shinned Hawk

2          Cooper’s Hawk

1          Northern Goshawk

15        Bald Eagle

9          Red-tailed Hawk

5          Rough-legged Hawk

1          American Kestrel

5**       Merlin

1*        Peregrine Falcon (2nd)

577      Rock Pigeon

427      Mourning Dove

1          Eastern Screech-Owl

5          Barred Owl

1          Belted Kingfisher (10th)

57        Downy Woodpecker

68        Hairy Woodpecker

1**      Northern Flicker

17        Pileated Woodpecker

4          Northern Shrike

447        Blue Jay

1,330** American Crow

96          Common Raven

848        Black-capped Chickadee

27          Red-breasted Nuthatch

153        White-breasted Nuthatch

8            Brown Creeper

4            Golden-crowned Kinglet

7**        Eastern Bluebird (2nd)

54          American Robin

1,431     European Starling

3            Bohemian Waxwing

30          Cedar Waxwing

1,923     Snow Bunting

100        American Tree Sparrow

210        Dark-eyed Junco

2            White-throated Sparrow

2            Song Sparrow

51          Northern Cardinal

2            Common Grackle

1            Pine Grosbeak

74          House Finch

5            Purple Finch

1            Red Crossbill

62          Common Redpoll

711        American Goldfinch

8            Evening Grosbeak

132        House Sparrow

            57  species

     36 field observers

        9,871 individuals

12  feeder watchers

Count Week: Red-breasted Merganser

*     Ties record high count

**   Record high count

Boldfaced name = uncommon species observed < 10 times prior to this year’s Count

(#) = current number of times uncommon species recorded

Bold and Underlined = New Species