Our first Christmas Bird Count!


I suppose it is kind of odd for a bird researcher to admit that I have never really taken part in organized birding. This is because I have never really considered myself a birder as such. I admire birders, with their excellent field sense and their identification skills, but I am more of a birdwatcher than a birder. I like watching birds, so long as I am getting insight into their behaviour or appreciating them aesthetically.

Nonetheless, I have adequate ID skills, at least as far as the winter fauna of Victoria goes, so Catherine signed us up as volunteers for the annual Christmas Bird Count. These events are an old tradition of the Audubon Society, and historically have provided quite a bit of abundance and presence/absence data on a continent-wide scale.

Victoria’s count took place yesterday, on a windy and rainy Saturday, which is not really the best weather to see lots and lots of birds. Most songbirds have to eat, however, so the early morning was bound to be at least somewhat productive.

We met other volunteers at a Tim Horton’s, and were assigned a largely-residential section adjacent to Panama Flats in Saanich. The objective is to walk the area, identifying and counting birds, recording how many of each species we saw. For a full list of what we saw, click here. Check out the pictures, and follow the Victoria count results here.


My brother, Colin came out to help. Colin, Catherine and I were the only ones to cover an area to the southeast of Panama flats.


This is the final sunlight Catherine saw before the weather socked in!



We did not record these, but did take a picture to document the sighting.


We recorded 75 crows, but it is likely we missed many.


We saw this Barred Owl in a small floodwater ravine.


White-crowned Sparrow, one of two that we saw.


We saw quite a few House Sparrows, although counting them was difficult due to them hiding in the bushes.


The sole Stellers Jay we saw.


Juncoes! These were one of the most abundant birds all day; we saw 56.


I am sure I could have figured out some of the gulls we saw, but since the checklist included an “unidentified gulls” section, that is what I put.


We had some attention from local pets.


This was the only eagle we saw, and we also spotted one Peregrine Falcon.


This dog has fogged up the window with his barking.




2 thoughts on “Our first Christmas Bird Count!

  1. I hope it won’t be your last! It was great having you join us this year and help us count more than 75,000 birds even in inclement weather. The first year is really the most challenging–new turf, new procedures. It can become a bit addictive. (PS Sooke and Duncan are still looking for counters!) 🙂

  2. Pingback: Morsels For The Mind – 26/12/2014 › Six Incredible Things Before Breakfast

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