Kemptville bird count coordinators Vanessa Skelton (L), Emily Young, and Robert Day (R), joined by NG Councillors Doreen Sullivan and John Barclay (centre)

by Rob Day

The inaugural Kemptville Christmas Bird Count on December 27 was a success. Birding has seen increased participation during the pandemic as a way to enjoy getting outdoors and being able to keep physically distance from others. We’d like to thank Councillors Barclay and O’Sullivan for coming out to the Settler’s Trail for some birding.

The day was cool, with temperatures between -15 and -9 and overcast, which contributed to some challenging conditions for the birders. However, thanks to the 49 volunteers who were either in the field or watching bird feeders, we managed to identify 46 species and over 6,700 individual birds. The data that was collected helps scientists track changes to the bird population over time.

Since this event has been on-going for over 100 years, there have been some interesting trends noticed from the data. One of the phenomena observed was the decrease in certain species population, due to DDT, and then a subsequent rebound in raptor populations after DDT stopped being used. The effects of the West Nile virus can also be seen in a decline, then recovery, of species.

The most numerous sighting of the day was over 1,300 American crows, which can regularly be seen in large flocks (a murder) in the Kemptville area. The next most numerous species were the Canada goose (983), European starling (711), and black capped chickadee (672). Singletons included a yellow-bellied sapsucker, brown creeper, merlin, and red-bellied woodpecker, amongst others.

If you want to be on the list for next year’s event, send an email to [email protected].


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