35th Christmas Bird Count, Woodhouse

35th Christmas Bird Count, Woodhouse

Report by Adam Timpf

Summer tanager, immature male (Photo by Josh Vandermeulen)

These are the results of the 35th Woodhouse Christmas Bird Count (CBC) held on Sunday December 19th, 2021. The Woodhouse CBC is centred 7 km east of Simcoe, at the crossroads of Highway 3 and Cockshutt Road at Renton, and roughly covers from Port Dover to Waterford and just west of Simcoe to east of Jarvis. Conditions were pretty much ideal with temps just below freezing, little to no wind, clear skies, and a light dusting of snow on the ground. 31 field birders covered the count area split between 17 groups, plus 5 feeder watchers.

While I initially reported we tallied 94 species, and then 95, I can confirm we tallied 94 species on the day which ties last year’s count as the 3rd highest species total ever, and the highest since the record of 99 was set in 2006. There were 3 new species added to the count, with a long-staying Summer Tanager as the bird of the count. It was frequenting two suet feeders on the same street in Simcoe; a rare bird to see in Ontario, and even more exceptional for it to be around in winter. The two other new species added to the all-time list were probably somewhat overdue: a Greater White-fronted Goose at the park in the downtown Simcoe, and a Vesper Sparrow near Townsend. A Blue-winged Teal near Townsend is also a notable find as it’s only the second one ever recorded during the Woodhouse CBC.

All told we set new highs for 11 species, with waterfowl and woodpeckers being counted in higher than average numbers due to the warm start to winter and a beautiful count day. Ravens continue to expand into the area with a record setting 14 recorded. Even if some of these roaming corvids were double counted, there were surely more than the previous record high of 3. Trumpeter Swans also saw a marked increase with 25 counted. This can likely be attributed to a growing breeding population near Waterford and it will be interesting to see how their population grows.

Hooded mergansers (Photo by Len Grincevicius)

Great Black-backed Gull was missed during the count day, although one was seen just before. Great-horned Owl was missed again which is hopefully due to bad luck and not a sign they are declining. The 3rd Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas which is underway now will help answer that question. Ruffed Grouse was also missed and that seems to be a tough bird to get on the count these days.

Lastly, I’d like to thank all the participants for their time and effort that they put into making this count a huge success each and every year.  Each year is different and there are always interesting birds to be found! Next year’s count is on Sunday December 18th, 2022 and hopefully it will be as successful and enjoyable as this one.

Please see the full results below.

Total Species: 94

Average for the last 35 years = 85. Average for the last 10 years = 89.

Total Individuals: 15,093

Average over all 35 years = 25,079. Average for the last 10 years = 20,224.

New count highs:
25 Trumpeter Swan (9 in 2012, and 6 last year)
28 Northern Pintail (6 in 2009)
67 Hooded Merganser (41 in 2020)
26 Bald Eagle (17 in 2013)
19 Cooper’s Hawk (18 in 2010)
6 Merlin (4 in 2014, 2020)
61 Red-bellied Woodpecker (ties high in 2017)
2 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (ties high in 2017)
27 Yellow-shafted Flicker (26 in 2020)
5 Pileated Woodpecker (ties high in 2010)
14 Common Raven (3 in 2019)

Low counts:
0 Great Black-backed Gull (first time missed in 35 year history)
0 Great-horned Owl (2nd year in a row with 0 recorded)

Results of the 2021 Woodhouse Christmas Bird Count:

Common Loon 1
Horned Grebe 5
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Great Blue Heron 3
Turkey Vulture 1
Mute Swan 3
Trumpeter Swan 25
Tundra Swan  182
Canada Goose 3949
Cackling Goose 14
Greater White-fronted Goose 1
Mallard 1002
American Black Duck 30
Blue-winged Teal 1
Gadwall 2
Northern Pintail  28
Northern Shoveler 3
American Green-winged Teal 1
Redhead 190
Ring-necked Duck 28
Greater Scaup 55
Lesser Scaup 450
Common Goldeneye 177
Bufflehead 79
Hooded Merganser 67
Common Merganser 81
Red-breasted Merganser 540
Merganser sp. 11
Bald Eagle 26
Northern Harrier 15
Sharp-shinned Hawk 9
Cooper’s Hawk 19
Red-tailed Hawk 112
Rough-legged Hawk 3
American Kestrel 16
Merlin 6
Ring-necked Pheasant 1
Wild Turkey 110
Bonaparte’s Gull 131
Ring-billed Gull 327
Herring Gull 48
Rock Pigeon 668
Mourning Dove 332
Eastern Screech-Owl 6
Belted Kingfisher 7
Red-bellied Woodpecker 61
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2
Downy Woodpecker 96
Hairy Woodpecker 22
Yellow-shafted Flicker 27
Pileated Woodpecker 5
Northern Shrike 3
Blue Jay 490
American Crow 674
Common Raven 14
Horned Lark 4
Black-capped Chickadee 258
Eastern Tufted Titmouse 1
Red-breasted Nuthatch 34
White-breasted Nuthatch 57
Brown Creeper 14
Carolina Wren 16
Winter Wren 6
Golden-crowned Kinglet 45
Eastern Bluebird 69
Hermit Thrush 3
American Robin 8
Northern Mockingbird 3
European Starling 1989
Cedar Waxwing 59
Myrtle Warbler 8
American Tree Sparrow 203
Chipping Sparrow 3
Field Sparrow 1
Fox Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 37
Swamp Sparrow 29
White-throated Sparrow 41
White-crowned Sparrow 6
Vesper Sparrow 1
Slate-colored Junco 819
Snow Bunting 2
Northern Cardinal 146
Summer Tanager 1
Red-winged Blackbird 17
Eastern Meadowlark 5
Rusty Blackbird 2
Common Grackle 8
Brown-headed Cowbird 17
Purple Finch 29
House Finch 174
Common Redpoll 4
Pine Siskin 12
American Goldfinch 325
House Sparrow 476 

Total: 94 Sp



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