Christmas Bird Count

The first Christmas Bird Count was held on Christmas Day in 1900 in New York City. Now, about 60,000 people participate annually in over 2000 different Christmas Bird Counts held throughout North and South America. The data collected are used to analyze changes in bird numbers. For example, Audubon’s 2009 report explores the impact of climate change on bird populations across the continent. The Woodstock Christmas Bird Count has been held in mid-December every year since 1934. You can download an excel summary of our results below.

The 86th annual Woodstock Christmas Bird Count was held on December 21st, 2019. A record 35 field observers and four feeder watchers saw 43,331 birds of 71 species. This is our second highest species total ever (highest was 72 in 2011). The weather was perfect on count day with low winds and good visibility. Many lingering birds helped to prop up our count total. New to the count this year was a House Wren. This bird was seen by Angela and Jeff Skevington in a small wetland on Township Road 5, Blandford-Blenheim. House Wrens are normally gone by October and this unexpected bird was the first winter record for Oxford County. Our cumulative list stands at 133 species (plus 3 additional count week only species). Only a small area of Pittock Lake near Innerkip Road was still open and this served to concentrate waterfowl on count day, helping us with our tally.

 

Birds recorded on ten or fewer counts included: Snow Goose (7 counts), Northern Shoveler (4 counts), Green-winged Teal (10 counts), Double-crested Cormorant (2 counts), Turkey Vulture (4 counts), Virginia Rail (2 counts), Sandhill Crane (7 counts), Iceland Gull (7 counts), Glaucous Gull (5 counts), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (4 counts), House Wren (1st count), Carolina Wren (count week, seen on 9 previous counts), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (8 counts), Rusty Blackbird (7 counts) and Common Grackle (8 counts).

 

High counts: Cackling Goose (7; ties high from 2015), Green-winged Teal (5; ties high from 1998), Bald Eagle (14; previous high 7 in 3 years), Red-tailed Hawk (81; previous high 78 in 2014), Iceland Gull (2; previous high 1 on 6 counts), Glaucous Gull (4; previous high 2 in 2002) and Winter Wren (10; previous high 7 in 2017).

The photo of the House Wren below was taken on Township Road 5, Blandford-Blenheim on count day in 2019 by Jeff Skevington.

The 2020 Christmas Bird Count will be held on December 18th. Contact Jeff Skevington for details (jhskevington@gmail.com; 613-720-2862).

The data for the Woodstock Christmas Bird Counts from 1934-2019 are available below in excel format. Just click to download.

Photos below are from previous counts. Clockwise from top: Sandhills Cranes and Canada Geese, Barred Owl, Harris's Sparrow and Western Meadowlark.

Below is a map of our count area along with the different count sectors