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Birders join PEPtBO for Christmas Count at Sandbanks


While temperatures suggest otherwise, the first day of winter arrives today and birders in Prince Edward County are noting the difference.

The annual Christmas Bird count has begun and birders from the County and beyond counted birds in North and South Marysburgh on Saturday. Tuesday they will be counting throughout a large circle centered on Sandbanks Provincial Park.

“The warm weather means that individuals from several species that normally would have moved south can still be found in the County,” said Cheryl Anderson, of the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory (PEPtBO). “At least one Gray Catbird and one Hermit Thrush were recorded on Saturday along with many Canada Geese, Greater Scaup and various Gull species. Of particular note was the second Gyrfalcon sighting of 2015.”

The Christmas Bird Count started in 1900 and is North America’s longest-running citizen science project. Counts happen in more than 2,000 localities throughout the Western Hemisphere.

This is the 20th year of migration monitoring at PEPtBO. Over the years, PEPtBO has spotted and collected data on almost seven million birds of 273 species. One of the rarest birds in Ontario – the endangered Henslow’s Sparrow – lives at Ostrander Point.

Information collected by thousands of volunteer participants forms one of the world’s largest sets of wildlife survey data. The results are used daily by conservation biologists and naturalists to assess the population trends and distribution of birds.

Each Christmas Bird Count is conducted between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5. Counts are carried out within a 24-km diameter circle that stays the same from year to year.

Winter Solstice is also the shortest day of of the year with the sun up late, then down early. From here, the days get longer until Summer Solstice in June.

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  1. Cheryl Anderson says:

    Excitement was high among the birders on the count today as everyone took a look at a Purple Sandpiper at Point Petre. Also of note was a family of Sandhill Cranes on Easterbrook Rd. In spite of the rain a total of 76 different species were recorded on the inaugural Sandbanks Christmas Bird Count.

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