Page 12 - Giv'er Miramichi Magazine - Winter Issue 2022
P. 12

50th Year for Miramichi Christmas Bird Counts

        By Pam Watters and Dave McLeod, Nature Miramichi

                                                                   Three Christmas Bird Counts (CBC) organized by
                                                               Nature  Miramichi  took  place  recently  –  the  Red
                                                               Bank/Sunny Corner CBC on December 18, the Miramichi
                                                               CBC on December 19, and the New Jersey/Neguac CBC on
                                                               January 3.
                                                                   These counts are done each year between December 14
                                                               and January 5 in an established 24 km diameter circle.  The
                                                               results  are  submitted  to  a  New  Brunswick  provincial
                                                               coordinator, and entered into the Birds Canada/Audubon
                                                               database of Christmas Bird Counts. This data helps to assess
                                                               the  health  of  bird  populations  and  make  decisions  on
                                                               conservation efforts.
                                                                   Over 5,000 birds of 42 species were observed on the
                                                               three CBCs. This was the 50th year for the Miramichi CBC
                                                               so it was fitting that we recorded 4,080 birds which is the
                                                               highest number to date!
                                                                   Huge numbers of Bohemian Waxwings were observed
                                                               on the Miramichi CBC, including a flock of 700 observed in
                                                               the Newcastle area. These beautiful birds are a species which
                                                               are found in our area during the winter months, while most
                                                               of their relatives, the Cedar Waxwings, head for warmer
                                                               temperatures down south.  Bohemian and Cedar Waxwings
        Above: A Barred Owl was observed this year for the first time in  look  very  much  alike,  but  Bohemian  Waxwings  have
        the New Jersey/Neguac CBC. Photo by  Aldo Dorio.
                                                               brownish undertail coverts while those of Cedar Waxwings
                                                               are cream-coloured.
                                                                   Because there was still open water for the Miramichi and
                                                               New Jersey/Neguac counts, several species of waterfowl
                                                               were observed including Canada Geese, American Black
                                                               Duck,  Common  Goldeneye,  Common  Merganser,  Red-
                                                               breasted Merganser and Lesser Scaup (first time this species
                                                               was recorded on the Miramichi CBC). Of course, there were
                                                               also many Mallards observed on count day in Miramichi!
                                                               Mallards were never recorded on the Miramichi CBC until
                                                               2005  when  5  were  observed,  and  they  have  since  been
                                                               steadily on the increase.
                                                                   Raptors were well represented on the CBCs by Sharp-
                                                               shinned Hawks and Bald Eagles. In addition, a Northern
                                                               Goshawk, a Cooper’s Hawk, and a Peregrine Falcon were
                                                               observed during the count period in Miramichi. This was the
                                                               first time in 50 years that we recorded a Peregrine Falcon
                                                               during  the  CBC  count  period.  A  Northern  Harrier  was
                                                               observed during the count period for the first time on the New
                                                               Jersey/Neguac CBC.
                                                                   Other nice sightings on the New Jersey/Neguac CBC
                                                               include a Northern Shrike seen on count day and a Barred
                                                               Owl seen during the count period - the first time a Barred
        Above: A Cooper’s Hawk was recorded during the count period in  Owl was observed on this CBC.
        Miramichi. Photo by Peter Gadd.                            There are many lovely winter finches around this year.
                                                               The  most  numerous  finches  observed  were  American

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