Saturday, 28 December 2019

2019 Feeder Count

Today is the Nanaimo Christmas Bird Count, but not everyone is able to participate in the group counts that can occur rain or shine. If you're interested in volunteering some time for this citizen science project we recommend taking 15 minutes out of your day to enjoy counting the birds in your backyard.

The rules are simple:
1. Record species seen or heard using or perched in your yard only. Do not count any fly-overs, birds on the ocean or adjacent yards.
2. Nanaimo count day is December 28, but count week is December 25 - 31.
3. Most counts are done in the daylight, but you are welcome to look for owls in the evening.
4. Try to observe for at least 1 hour during count day. You can break this time into intervals if you would like.
5. For each individual species observed only count the maximum number of individual birds seen or heard at one time. This helps to avoid double counting. (E.g. If you see 2 Juncos at 8:45am, 6 Juncos at 9:00am and 4 Juncos at noon, your Junco count for the day would be 6 Juncos.
6. Please record times, duration and location of your count. Keep a separate record if you do any night owling.

We carry hard-copies of the Christmas Bird Count Feeder sheets at the store, but if you are unable to make it into the store we are able to email a copy of the bird counts (please email : the backyard@shaw.ca). You are also welcome to email us your own bird tally and we will copy the data over to the bird count sheets.

Happy birding everyone!




Saturday, 21 December 2019

Nanaimo Weekly Bird Report December 21, 2019




The Backyard Wildbird and Nature Store



Nanaimo Bird Report

December 21, 2019


“EXPLORE NATURE”---GO BIRDING:


To report your sightings phone the Store at 250-390-3669 or e-mail us at thebackyard@shaw.ca. Please remember, when reporting a sighting to leave your name and phone number along with the date the species was seen and location of your sighting.
*********************************************************





Tuesday December 17, 2019:



A small flock of Snow Geese and a Great White-front Goose continue to be seen at the Parksville Community on the sports field.



The Tuesday Bird Walk went to Columbia Beach / French Creek. The weather very windy, tides were high and very choppy. Temperature was five degrees with a steady blowing rain. Eight die hard birders braved the weather to see Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Brant, and other species bobbing in the waves and slowly flying past. Along the river Common Mergansers, widgeon and Mallards were seen. A walk through the wooded area provided a bit of shelter and sightings of House Finch, Pine Siskins, Steller’s Jay and a pair of Pacific Wrens. Down at the other end of Admiral Tryon blvd was a large flock of Mew Gulls sheltering in the bay and seen in the pond were Hooded Merganser and Ring-necked Ducks.



Eight birders heard and saw the following 44 species:



Brant

Canada Goose

Mallard

Harlequin Duck

American Widgeon

Ring-necked Duck

Surf Scoter

Black Scoter

Hooded Merganser

Bufflehead

Common Goldeneye

Red-breasted Merganser

Common Merganser

Pelagic Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant

Pacific Loon

Common Loon

Great Blue Heron

Bald Eagle

Black Oystercatcher

Black Turnstone

Dunlin

Black-bellied Plover

Mew Gull

Thayer’s Gull

Glaucous-winged Gull

Rock Pigeon

Anna’s Hummingbird

Northern Flicker

Northwestern Crow

Common Raven

Steller’s Jay

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Pacific Wren

American Robin

Spotted Towhee

Song Sparrow

Golden-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

House Finch

Purple Finch

Pine Siskin

House Sparrow




Photo: Pine Siskin (J. Morrison)



Backyard Feeder Notes:



It is that time of year for the annual Christmas Bird Count. This year will be the 120th Christmas Bird Count and the Nanaimo count will be held on December 28, 2019. Data is collected by volunteers to help understand winter bird populations, movement and distribution of winter birds and changes such as development, loss of habitat, or environmental changes such as weather or diseases.

The Christmas Bird Count was started because of another tradition called the Christmas Side Hunt, a competition to see who could bring back the biggest bounty of feathers. The Audubon Society was just beginning and decided that it would be better to count birds than shoot them, at which time the first Christmas Bird Count was started on December 25, 1900. The first count had 27 participants in 25 count areas, from New Brunswick to Pacific Grove California, counted 90 species with a total of 18,500 individual birds.

Anyone can volunteer and participate in a Christmas Bird Count especially if you are interested in birds, beginner or expert birder. To participate please contact us for more information.

There is also the Christmas Feeder Count. The Feeder Count allows you to participate by watching your backyard feeders and counting what you see on Saturday December 28, 2019. Count forms are available at The Backyard Wildbird & Nature Store.






Photo: Spotted Towhee (R. Hocken)





The Sunday Bird Walk January 5, 2020:



The next Sunday Bird Walk will be going to Buttertubs Marsh.

Meet at The Backyard Wildbird & Nature Store at 9:00am or meet at the parking lot at the end of Buttertubs Drive at 9:15 am.



The Tuesday Bird Walk January 7, 2020:



The next Tuesday Bird Walk will be going to the Englishman River Estuary, Shelley Road side.

Meet at the Parksville Tourist Information Center parking lot, located by Hwy 19A, Northwest Bay road in Parksville, at 9:00 am or meet at the end of Shelley Road at 9:10.





Please Note:
Check this site (
www.thebirdstore.blogspot.com) early Tuesday and Sunday on stormy mornings to see if the walks have been cancelled!



Good birding!

Colin Bartlett






The Backyard

Wildbird and Nature Store
6314 Metral Drive V9T-2L8
Phone: 250-390-3669


Email: thebackyard@shaw.ca
Blog:
www.thebirdstore.blogspot.com

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Nanaimo Weekly Bird Report December 12, 2019




The Backyard Wildbird and Nature Store



Nanaimo Bird Report

December 12, 2019


“EXPLORE NATURE”---GO BIRDING:

To report your sightings phone the Store at 250-390-3669 or e-mail us at thebackyard@shaw.ca. Please remember, when reporting a sighting to leave your name and phone number along with the date the species was seen and location of your sighting.
*********************************************************



Photo: Trumpeter Swan (R. Hocken)



Sunday December 8, 2019:

The Sunday Bird Walk went to the Nanaimo River Estuary. Weather was overcast with a cool breeze. There were a few hunters about the estuary and some of the birding activity was quiet. From the viewing mound we watched as a Northern Harrier was busy hunting and also had a quick view of Western Meadowlarks. There were plenty of Common Ravens about but no Short-eared Owl was seen.



Eleven birders saw the following 34 species:

Trumpeter Swan

American Wigeon

Mallard

Northern Pintail

Bufflehead

Common Goldeneye

Common Merganser

Great Blue Heron

Bald Eagle

Northern Harrier

Pied-billed Grebe

Glaucous-winged Gull

Thayer’s Gull

Eurasian-collared Dove

Anna’s Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Northern Flicker

Northern Shrike

Common Raven

Northwestern Crow

Steller’s Jay

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Bewick’s Wren

American Robin

European Starling

Spotted Towhee

Song Sparrow

Golden-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Red-winged Blackbird

Western Meadowlark

House Finch

American Goldfinch

  

Tuesday December 10, 2019:



A small flock of Snow Geese and a Great White-front Goose were seen at the Parksville Community park.




Photo: Canada, Greater White-fronted, and Cackling Goose (R. Hocken)



The Tuesday Bird Walk went to the Little Qualicum River Estuary. The weather was cool with temperatures around one degree wind was light and rain to start the bird walk. The walk started at the Brant viewing stand at the north end of the Qualicum Beach, but unfortunately there were no Brant seen but a fair bit of activity on the water with Surf, Black and White-winged Scoters. Also seen there were Marbled Murrlet, Common Murre, Dunlin and Black-bellied Plover. At the estuary Anna’s Hummingbirds were busy and a Northern Shrike was also seen.



Twelve birders heard and saw the following 44 species:



Mallard

Green-winged Teal

Greater Scaup

Harlequin Duck

Surf Scoter

Black Scoter

White-winged Scoter

Long-tail Duck

Bufflehead

Common Goldeneye

Red-breasted Merganser

Common Merganser

Common Loon

Pacific Loon

Horned Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

Double-crested Cormorant

Great Blue Heron

Bald Eagle

Black Oystercatcher

Black Turnstone

Dunlin

Black-bellied Plover

Mew Gull

Thayer’s Gull

California Gull

Glaucous-winged Gull

Common Murre

Marbled Murrelet

Eurasian Collared Dove

Belted Kingfisher

Anna’s Hummingbird

Northern Flicker

Northwestern Crow

Northern Shrike

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

American Robin

Spotted Towhee

Song Sparrow

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Red-winged Blackbird

House Finch

House Sparrow




Photo: Golden-crowned Sparrow (R. Hocken)

Backyard Feeder Notes:



This week we received a few calls of odd looking birds. A Junco with a black and white head, American Robin with white blotches were some of the reports. This is a condition call Leucism, partial loss of pigmentation to the feathers so the feathers are white instead of black or whatever colour. Most reports have been with the Dark-eyed Juncos, Spotted Towhees and American Robins but this week we had one that was a Song Sparrow with a white head and a brown spot on its crown. Interesting to watch these birds as I have noticed that they are not always welcomed in the flock and just follow. At the feeders they are lower on the pecking order when feeding. Let us know if you are seeing something like this at your feeders.  




Photo: Leucism Dark-eyed Junco (customer photo)

 

The Sunday Bird Walk January 5, 2020:



The next Sunday Bird Walk will be January 5, 2020



The Tuesday Bird Walk December 17, 2019:



This Tuesday Bird Walk will be going to Columbia Beach.

Meet at the Parksville Tourist Information Center parking lot, located by Hwy 19A, Northwest Bay road and Franklin’s Gull road in Parksville, at 9:00 am or meet at the parking area on Admiral Tryon blvd at 9:15.



Please Note:
Check this site (
www.thebirdstore.blogspot.com) early Tuesday and Sunday on stormy mornings to see if the walks have been cancelled!



Good birding!

Colin Bartlett






The Backyard

Wildbird and Nature Store
6314 Metral Drive V9T-2L8
Phone: 250-390-3669


Email: thebackyard@shaw.ca
Blog:
www.thebirdstore.blogspot.com

Friday, 6 December 2019

Nanaimo Weekly Bird Report December 6, 2019




The Backyard Wildbird and Nature Store



Nanaimo Bird Report

December 6, 2019


“EXPLORE NATURE”---GO BIRDING:

To report your sightings phone the Store at 250-390-3669 or e-mail us at thebackyard@shaw.ca. Please remember, when reporting a sighting to leave your name and phone number along with the date the species was seen and location of your sighting.
*********************************************************



Saturday November 30, 2019:



3 – Short-eared Owls were seen at the Nanaimo River Estuary.


Friday December 7, 2019:

2 – Evening Grosbeaks were seen in the French Creek area.




Photo: Evening Grosbeak (J. Purves)





Sunday December 1, 2019:


The Sunday Bird Walk went to Neck Point Park. Weather was overcast, temperature 2 degrees with a light breeze. During the walk the weather changed a little with a cool wind starting to blow and showers that turned to slush. The woods were quiet with few calls and sightings but the water was calm with steady activity.


Eleven birders saw the following 36 species:

Harlequin Duck

Horned Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

Bufflehead

Common Merganser

Black Oystercatcher

Spotted Sandpiper

Rhinoceros Auklet

Marbled Murrelet

Common Loon

Pacific Loon

Pelagic Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant

Bald Eagle

Mew Gull

Glaucous-winged Gull

Belted Kingfisher

Downy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Northwestern Crow

Common Raven

Steller’s jay

Anna’s Hummingbird

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Pacific Wren

Bewick’s Wren

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

American Robin

European Starling

Brown Creeper

Spotted Towhee

Dark-eyed Junco

Pine Siskin

Fox Sparrow


Photo: Steller’s Jay (R. Hocken)


Tuesday December 3, 2019:



The Tuesday Bird Walk went to the Rathtrevor Provincial Park. Weather started off with a little fog and no wind but the wind started to increase near the end of the walk with showers. A large flock of Surf Scoters with a few White-winged and Black Scoters mixed in were seen in the bay along with a few Bufflehead and 4 Brant flying by.



Fourteen birders heard and saw the following 38 species:

Brant

American Widgeon

Mallard

Harlequin Duck

Surf Scoter

White-winged Scoter

Black Scoter

Bufflehead

Common Goldeneye

Red-breasted Merganser

Common Merganser

Common Loon

Pacific Loon

Horned Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

Marbled Murrelet

Common Murre

Pelagic Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant

Mew Gull

California Gull

Glaucous-winged Gull

Thayer’s Gull

Black Turnstone

Dunlin

Bald Eagle

Common Raven

Northern Flicker

American Robin

Varied Thrush

Anna’s Hummingbird

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Pacific Wren

Spotted Towhee

Song Sparrow

Golden-crowned Sparrow


Photo: Golden-crowned Kinglet (R. Hocken)



Backyard Feeder Notes:



With that blast of cold weather last week we received many inquiries of how to keep the hummingbird feeders from freezing, so here are a few ideas if your hummingbird feeders are freezing. First there is the Hummer Hearth hummingbird feeder heater that attaches to the bottom of your feeder. It works best on flat bottom feeders but will work on most hummingbird feeders. Or bring your feeder in after dark each night and hang back out about 6:45 am for the birds. If you have any incandescent Christmas lights you’re not using, ball them up and hang under or above your feeder to produce enough heat to help keep the feeder from freezing. For those hummingbird feeders with the bottles, try covering the bottle with a wool sock or some kind of insulation to prevent freezing. And if it gets to cold at night use a disposable hand warmer under the sock to help add some warmth.




Photo: Anna’s Hummingbird (M. Hamilton)





The Sunday Bird Walk December 8, 2019:



This week the Sunday bird walk will be going to the Nanaimo River Estuary.

Meet at The Backyard Wildbird & Nature Store at 9:00am or meet at the parking at the end of Raines Road at 9:20am.



The Tuesday Bird Walk December 10, 2019:



This week the Tuesday Bird Walk will be going to the Little Qualicum River Estuary.

Meet at the Parksville Tourist Information Center parking lot, located by Hwy 19A, Northwest Bay road and Franklin’s Gull road in Parksville, at 9:00 am or at the Brant viewing stand at the north end of Qualicum Beach at 9:15 or 9:30 at the parking area on Surfside Drive off of Kinkade Road.



Please Note:
Check this site (www.thebirdstore.blogspot.com) early Tuesday and Sunday on stormy mornings to see if the walks have been cancelled!





Good birding!

Colin Bartlett





The Backyard

Wildbird and Nature Store


Email: thebackyard@shaw.ca
Blog:
www.thebirdstore.blogspot.com