Events Calendar

Current Weather

January 5, 2023

Christmas Bird Count Results 2022

Pine Grosbeak in Algonquin Park

Image: Male Pine Grosbeak in Algonquin Park. Photo by Michael Runtz.

Overall Results

The 49th Algonquin Park Christmas Bird Count was held on Friday, December 30, 2022. The 65 observers experienced conditions that were good in the morning, but periods of light drizzle in the afternoon probably affected birding effectiveness and did reduce the total hours in the field. The day was calm and temperatures were mild (+3°C to +8°C). However, getting through the snow on the ground (maximum depth about 40 cm) was strenuous in many areas, an important factor in this count which is done almost entirely on foot due to the lack of accessible roads

There were 21 species reported (average: 27) and 1,037 individuals (average: 4,025). These lower-than-normal numbers were mainly due to the poor to non-existent tree seed crops in Algonquin this winter. Indicative of the food scarcity, the massive southward movement of Blue Jays this fall resulted in only one being observed on the count (in Mew Lake Campground where some campers feed birds). For comparison, during a better wild food crop year there were 330 Blue Jays tallied on the 2021 count.

Finch variety and numbers were low: Evening Grosbeak (18), Pine Grosbeak (7), and Pine Siskin (1).

Boreal species counts were Spruce Grouse (3), Black-backed Woodpecker (3), Boreal Chickadee (2) and Canada Jay (25).

All but one of the Canada Jays were colour-banded, and so this total does not involve counting individuals more than once. The 25 observed included nearly all the known remaining Canada Jay population along Highway 60 within the count circle. Research since the 1960s has shown that Canada Jay numbers are declining steadily in Algonquin Park, apparently due to climate warming that destroys stored winter food during thaws.

  • Number of Observers: 65
  • Total Species: 21 (average is 27)
  • Total Individuals: 1,037 (average is 4,025)

All Species Observed on the 2022 Algonquin Park CBC

  • CW= observed during Count Week
  • Bald Eagle CW1
  • Wild Turkey 6
  • Ruffed Grouse 15
  • Spruce Grouse 3
  • Barred Owl 1
  • Downy Woodpecker 35
  • Hairy Woodpecker 20
  • Black-backed Woodpecker 2
  • Pileated Woodpecker 6
  • Northern Shrike CW1
  • Canada Jay 37
  • Blue Jay 1
  • Common Raven 72
  • Black-capped Chickadee 604
  • Boreal Chickadee 2
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch 101
  • White-breasted Nuthatch 10
  • Brown Creeper 14
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet 91
  • American Tree Sparrow 1
  • Snow Bunting CW1
  • Pine Grosbeak 7
  • Red Crossbill CW2
  • Common Redpoll CW1
  • Pine Siskin 1
  • American Goldfinch CW2
  • Evening Grosbeak 18
  • Crossbill sp. 1
  • Total Number of Species 21
  • Total Number of Individuals 1,037
  • Number of Observers 65
  • Number of Hours - Driving 5.8
  • Number of Hours - Walking 103.2
  • Number of Hours - Owling 0.0
  • Total Party Hours 109.0
  • # of Kilometres - Driving 146.0
  • # of Kilometres - Walking 156.7
  • # of Kilometres - Owling 0.0
  • Total Distance (km) 302.7
  • Birds Per Party Hour 9.6
  • Average Number of Birds per Observer 16.4

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.