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15 Bird Species Spotted!

December 9th marked the 4th Kids Christmas Bird Count in Parry Sound, supported by the Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii (GBB) Kids in the Biosphere program, the Parry Sound Nature Club, and Nature Canada’s NatureHood program. This year we had a record 25 participants come out to learn about local birds, spot some feathered friends, and be citizen scientists! 

The Christmas Bird Count has run annually since 1900 by the National Audubon Societies and Birds Canada as a way to monitor winter bird populations. Ornithologists and citizens alike have participated in this day-long event, adding data to the 123 year database of bird spotting. Stemming from this more rigorous event is the kids version, which aims to include and introduce youth and families to the world of citizen science and birds with age-appropriate learning opportunities. 

This year our group spotted 15 different species of birds during a 2-hour walk along the waterfront trail in Parry Sound:

1. Mallard
2. Common Merganser
3. Rock Pigeon
4. Ring-billed Gull
5. Herring Gull
6. Bald Eagle
7. Red-tailed Hawk
8. Blue Jay

9. American Crow
10. Common Raven
11. Black-capped Chickadee
12. American Robin
13. American Goldfinch
14. Dark-eyed Junco
15. Common Grackle

We were excited to see the Grackles, who are common in the summertime, but typically fly south for the winter. Participants watched a Red-tailed Hawk be harassed by smaller birds, a common interaction to help keep predators away. In the future more large raptor species will also be spending the winter here, arriving from even further north.

We played our favourite bird games, including the Bird Run and Bird Song games. In the bird run game youth become the birds, they have to collect bird seed and carry it 20 ft in their “beak” to their cache. They have 5 minutes to collect as much seed for the winter as possible. It is always a race to see who can fill their cache the most and demonstrates how much work birds have to do to get ready for the winter. 

This year the bird song game was a huge hit! Children stood in a circle, and were given a card with a bird species on it and the call they typically make. From here, participants sang their song and tried to find the other birds of their species.

To finish off our event we celebrated all the bird counting with hot chocolate and snacks. 

What a fun way to spend a beautiful day by Georgian Bay! We are incredibly lucky to live in a place with so many birds and people who love them. We can’t wait to do it again next year!

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