From left, Lakeland College students Jaycee Reimer, Michael Enns, and Garry Kohut at the 2017 Christmas Bird Count on December 16.
Photo Angela Mouly
Bird enthusiasts gathered around Vermilion for the Christmas Bird Count on December 16.
Chris Olsen, Lakeland College’s Program Head/Instructor of Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation led a group through the Southeast quadrant of a 24-kilometre circle surrounding Vermilion. Olsen has been attending since 1992, and the count has been held in Vermilion since the 1980’s.
Compared to temperatures dropping below -30 last year, the Christmas Bird Count was considerably milder this year with an actual temperature of -4 degrees Celsius, and an approximate 30-kilometer wind making it feel like -10. However beautiful the birds, scenery, and sunrise were, walking the tree lines participants still felt every bit of the frosty winter wind.
“The wind was unhelpful, but participants were able to hear a territorial Black-capped Chickadee song and saw Chickadees, Common Redpolls, Magpies, and a Ruck Pigeon all at their first stop. Throughout the day, remarkable sightings included a Northern Shrike, a Northern Flicker, a Snowy Owl, and a couple of Great Horned Owls,” said Olsen.
Thousands of Christmas Bird Counts are held across North America dating back over 100 years. Originally Christmas bird hunts were common until Ornithologist, Frank Chapman, began the practice more friendly to bird science; with results now being compiled over large areas.
Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation graduates, Alyssa Metro and Caleb Corcoran, returned for another year of spotting a variety of bird species.
“I like the outdoors, wildlife, and being able to give back to the environment; making sure it is there for future generations. I really enjoyed an ornithology class, and the Christmas Bird Count seemed like a really good opportunity to get out and learn more,” said second-year Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation student, Blaine Olfert.
A potluck was hosted by Jan Scott for all participants, and numbers were tallied by Iris Davies. For results, you can see next week’s issue of the Vermilion Voice.