The 104th Ottawa-Gatineau CBC was held December 18, 2022. Temperatures ranged from minus 7.5 to minus 1.5 degrees Celsius, with variable skies throughout the day.

146 field observers plus 28 feeder watchers found 77 species and a record high 50,851 individual birds. Highlights included 3 Northern Shovelers (only the fifth record), a Harlequin Duck, 2 Horned Grebes and a Red-necked Grebe, the sixth record for American Coot, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a Red-bellied Woodpecker and 2 American Three-toed Woodpeckers.

A record high was set for Cooper’s Hawk (19). Record highs were tied for Merlin (7), Green-winged Teal (2), as well as for Northern Shoveler (3) Horned Grebe (2), American Coot (1), and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (3), Red-tailed Hawk (20) fell one short of a record high; on the other hand,  Rough-legged Hawk was completely absent; many of the Red-tails were in urban settings.

A record high was also established for American Crow (the most abundant species on the count) with a roost estimated at 30,000. Thanks to Aaron Hywarren, Jamie Spence, and Marcel Gahbauer for their efforts counting crows.

Numbers for lingering diving ducks (both scaup, Hooded Merganser) and gulls were above average due to the weather conditions leading up to the count; however, the numbers were down for our resident winter diving ducks, Common Goldeneye and Common Merganser.

Numbers for woodpeckers and White-breasted Nuthatch appeared to be on a down cycle from the record highs that corresponded to the invasion of the Emerald ash borer a few years ago. Brown Creeper and Golden-crowned Kinglet numbers were also very low. Most of the winter finches were present but in very low numbers, with the exception of a total of 103 Evening Grosbeaks that was well above the 10-year average of 18.

Peregrine Falcon, Snowy Owl, and Winter Wren were observed during the count week but not on the count day itself.

The Ottawa-Gatineau Christmas Bird Count is a joint effort of the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club (OFNC) and the Club des ornithologues de l’Outaouais (COO). My thanks to the participants, the sector leaders, and especially my co-compiler, Daniel Toussaint of the COO.

For a complete report, please visit CBC 2022

Bernie Ladouceur