Pileated Woodpecker. Photo courtesy of Ulrike Sliworsky

Pileated Woodpecker. Photo courtesy of Ulrike Sliworsky

79 Bird species counted in 23rd annual Creston Christmas Bird Count

9,098 total individual birds were counted on Dec. 27, compared to 6,133 in 2019

By Ulrike Sliworsky, Creston Christmas Bird Count coordinator

The 23rd annual Creston Christmas Bird Count was held on Dec. 27 in the valley. The National Audubon Society spearheaded this longest-running wildlife survey 121 years ago. This is a winter tradition for many birders, and the ongoing pandemic did not stop 63 volunteers from driving, watching, walking and slipping on ice to look for birds!

Counting bird species year after year contributes valuable information on how winter birds are faring, both in our locale and across the country, to help scientists better understand what needs to be done to protect our birds.

Special thanks to the group of birders from Cranbrook that came to our valley this year. They counted an amazing 45 species on the Kootenay-Speers Roads and Highway 21 to the border. A Western Meadowlark was seen in that area.

This was only the second time a Mountain Bluebird was seen on a Christmas bird count day. It was sitting on a Nick’s Island Road fencepost. These two species must have been reluctant to cross the border!

California Quail seem to be increasing in numbers and Northern Shrikes have been spotted throughout the valley in various locations such as the West Creston flats, Wynndel flats, Canyon and Duck Lake.

More birds were counted this year compared to last year with 79 species (71 species in 2019) and 9,098 total individual birds (6,133 individuals in 2019). There were huge flocks of Pine Siskins everywhere!

The Creston Valley Bird Festival has once again sponsored this event. For more information about our festival, which will hopefully be held May 9 to 11, please see the website at www.crestonvalleybirds.ca or like us on Facebook! Weekly postings on “Where the birds are” in the valley can be viewed. Birdwatching is a great excuse to get out of the house and to go explore our beautiful outdoors!

Creston total — Species

1,461 — Canada Goose

14 — Trumpeter Swan

35 — Tundra Swan

224 — Mallard

4 — Ring-necked Duck

15 — Bufflehead

121 — Common Golden-eye

10 — Hooded Merganser

9 — Common Merganser

40 — California Quail

17 — Ring-necked Pheasant

9 — Ruffed Grouse

1 — Spruce Grouse

220 — Wild Turkey

7 — Great Blue Heron

11 — Mourning Dove

69 — Eurasian Collared-Dove

78 — Rock Pigeon

20 — Bald Eagle – adult

3 — Bald Eagle – immature

1 — Golden Eagle – Adult

3 — Northern Harrier

2 — Sharp-shinned Hawk

2 — Cooper’s Hawk

2 — Northern Goshawk

36 — Red-tailed Hawk

18 — Rough-legged Hawk

13 — American Kestrel

5 — Merlin

3 — Great Horned Owl

9 — Northern Pygmy-Owl

29 — Downy Woodpecker

20 — Hairy Woodpecker

160 — Northern Flicker

24 — Pileated Woodpecker

6 — Northern Shrike

8 — Belted Kingfisher

337 — European Starling

3 — American Dipper

59 — Steller’s Jay

44 — Blue Jay

5 — Canada Jay

2 — Clark’s Nutcracker

50 — Black-billed Magpie

218 — American Crow

133 — Common Raven


Black-capped Chickadee

62 — Chestnut-backed Chickadee

13 — Mountain Chickadee

9 — Brown Creeper

151 — Red-breasted Nuthatch

16 — Pacific/Winter Wren

5 — Marsh Wren

22 — Golden-crowned Kinglet

2 — Ruby-crowned Kinglet

8 — American Robin

8 — Townsend’s Solitaire

1 — Varied Thrush

45 — Bohemian Waxwing

1 — Yellow-headed Blackbird

10 — Brown-Headed Cowbird

203 — Red-winged Blackbirds

7 — Spotted Towhee

95 — Dark-eyed Junco – Slate

193 — Dark-eyed Junco – Oregon

13 — Dark-eyed Junco – Unknown

1 — American Tree Sparrow

135 — Song Sparrow

11 — White-throated Sparrow

1 — White-crowned Sparrow

1 — White-winged Crossbill

20 — Red Crossbill

330 — House Finch

103 — Common Redpoll

30 — Evening Grosbeak

39 — Pine Grosbeak

2,961 — Pine Siskin

278 — American Goldfinch

156 — House Sparrow

1 — Mountain Bluebird

1 — Western Meadowlark

9,098 — Total Individuals

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