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January 1, 2019

Christmas Bird Count Results 2018

Eighty-three observers undertook the 45th Algonquin Park Christmas Bird Count (CBC) on Saturday, December 29, 2018, a beautiful winter day in Algonquin Park. Weather conditions were good for observing birds, with sun all day, a little cool-in-the-open light wind only in the morning ( 0-8 kph, mean of 3.7 kph), temperatures from from -22°C to -2°C, with a mean of -12°C, and snow on the ground of 29 cm or less (with many packed-down trails making walking easy). As usual, the only open water was in limited sections of rivers and streams. However, there is virtually no cone crop this year and the preliminary count results below reflect that.

Northern Saw-whet Owl in Algonquin Park

Northern Saw-whet Owl found being mobbed by Black-capped Chickadees and two Boreal Chickadees at Spruce Bog Boardwalk on the 45th Algonquin Park Christmas Bird Count. Photo by Lev Frid. Click to enlarge.

Overall Results

  • Number of Observers: 83
  • Total Species: 25 (average is 27)
  • Total Individuals: 1,521(average is 4,579)
  • Birds per Party Hour: 9 (average is 25)

All Species Observed on the 2018 Algonquin Park CBC

  • CW= observed during Count Week
  • Bufflehead: CW
  • Ruffed Grouse: 55
  • Spruce Grouse: 1
  • Wild Turkey: 12
  • Bald Eagle: 1
  • Barred Owl: 3
  • Northern Saw-whet Owl: 1
  • Downy Woodpecker: 35
  • Hairy Woodpecker: 36
  • Black-backed Woodpecker: 9
  • Pileated Woodpecker: 15
  • Northern Shrike: 1
  • Canada Jay: 22
  • Blue Jay: 6
  • Common Raven: 62
  • Black-capped Chickadee: 1,020
  • Boreal Chickadee: 8
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch: 135
  • White-breasted Nuthatch: 7
  • Brown Creeper: 10
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet: 10
  • Pine Grosbeak: 52
  • Common Redpoll: 2
  • Pine Siskin: 1
  • American Goldfinch: 5
  • Evening Grosbeak: 8
  • Snow Bunting: CW
  • Unidentified birds: 4
  • Number of Observers: 83
  • Total Species: 25 (average is 27)
  • Total Individuals: 1,521(average is 4,579)

Thanks to all the participants and those who helped organize and undertake the count this year.

Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park CBC Compiler

Additional Bird Sightings

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).

Christmas Bird Count Circle in Algonquin Park

Bird count volunteers follow specified routes through a designated 24 kilometre diameter circle (shown below) and count every bird they see or hear with a 24 hour period. This provides an early winter bird census for Algonquin Park and combines with data from other counts in Canada, the United States, and many other countries. In Algonquin Park, the 24 kilometre circle is centred on the intersection of the Rock Lake Road and Highway 60.

Algonquin Park Christmas Bird Count Circle Map

What is the Christmas Bird Count?

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is a long-standing program of the National Audubon Society, with over 100 years of citizen science involvement. It is an early-winter bird census, where thousands of volunteers across the US, Canada and many countries in the Western Hemisphere, go out over a 24 hour period to count birds.

How is the Christmas Bird Count conducted?

Count volunteers follow specified routes through a designated 24 kilometre diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear all day. It’s not just a species tally—all birds are counted all day, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle that day. If observers live within a CBC circle, they may arrange in advance to count the birds at their feeders and submit those data to their compiler. All individual CBC’s are conducted in the period from December 14 to January 5 (inclusive dates) each season, and each count is conducted in one calendar day.

Why was the Christmas Bird Count started?

The first CBC was done on Christmas Day of 1900 as an alternative activity to an event called the “side hunt” where people chose sides, then went out and shot as many birds as they could. The group that came in with the largest number of dead birds won the event. Frank Chapman, a famed ornithologist at the American Museum of Natural History and the editor of Bird-Lore (which became the publication of the National Association of Audubon Societies when that organization formed in 1905) recognized that declining bird populations could not withstand wanton over-hunting, and proposed to count birds on Christmas Day rather than shoot them.

Is the Christmas Bird Count useful?

Absolutely. The data collected by observers over the past century allow researchers, conservation biologists, and interested individuals to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America.

Related Information


Reserve your developed or backcountry campsite for your next visit.

Share your passion for Algonquin Park by becoming a member or donor.

Special regulations for Algonquin's special fishery.