More East Kootenay birds

Results of the Kimberley bird count, January 4, 2014.

  • Jan. 13, 2014 7:00 p.m.
Pygmy nuthatch

Pygmy nuthatch

Daryl Calder

January ought to be a time to stay indoors, but for birders, it is one of the most exciting times of the year. While the rest of the world is trying to give up smoking or working out in temporarily crowded gyms, birders are out in the field building their brand new, year- lists while taking part in a Christmas Bird Count.

On January 4, about a dozen birders from our corner of the province gathered in Kimberley, formed teams and fanned out into an area from Wasa to Wycliffe.

The species count of 39 equalled the Cranbrook result from the previous week.

As usual, most bird activity centered around the bird feeders which had been cleaned, filled, and placed out of harm’s way by our generous bird-loving backyard watchers in Kimberley, Marysville, Meadowbrook, Ta Ta Creek, Wasa and Wycliffe.

Dianne’s team was pleased to discover a Brown Creeper silhouetted on a tree trunk along 301 Street and what could only have been a Merlin at the South end of Swan Subdivision. When birding, it always helps to be in the right place at the right time. A brief glimpse provided enough good evidence for a positive identification. The pointy wing tips, general greyish color, size, habitat, and time of year, could mean only one thing. The speedy Merlin lives year round in our area; several pairs make their home around the edges of town. Closely related to the more widely known Peregrine Falcon, Merlins raise their chicks on insects, small mammals and other birds.

Another highlight for our area is the continued presence of a family of Pygmy Nuthatch in Wycliffe. Small, even by nuthatch standards, Pygmy Nuthatches are tiny bundles of hyperactive energy that climb up and down Ponderosa Pines giving rubber-ducky calls to their flock mates. Their buffy-white underparts set off a crisp brown head, slate grey back, and sharp, straight bill.

These tiny songbirds breed in large, extended-family groups, which is one reason why you’ll often see a half dozen at a time. Look for them in open forests of older Ponderosa Pine across the West. Unlike the other nuthatches which go head first down a tree trunk and make a ‘yank, yank’ call, the Pygmy prefers to forage for seeds and insects further out along branches and needle clumps. It is very quiet and it’s call consists of simple little peeps. Rarely spending much time at the feeder, it zips in to grab something and scoots back to a nearby large tree to eat or stash.

The Kimberley Count always shows differences from the Cranbrook tally. The Wasa, Ta Ta Creek and Bummer’s Flats are quite unlike the habitats found around Cranbrook. Birders were pleased to find Wild Turkey, Red-tailed Hawk, Eurasian Collared Dove, Black-billed Magpie, American Tree Sparrow, and Snow Bunting while the Crossbills and Redpolls ‘should’ have been seen in Cranbrook. The more southerly town produced a greater variety of waterfowl, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Red-winged Blackbirds and Pygmy Owl.

The List:

Mallard 9

Common Goldeneye 42

Wild Turkey 4

Bald Eagle 12

Red-tailed Hawk 1

Merlin 1

Rock Pigeon 69

Eurasian Collared Dove 17

Downy Woodpecker 16

Hairy Woodpecker 4

Northern Flicker 24

Pileated Woodpecker 2

Woodpecker species 1

Northern Shrike 2

Grey Jay 4

Steller’s Jay 7

Blue Jay 6

Clark’s Nutcracker 31

American Crow 24

Common Raven 78

Black-billed Magpie 14

Bl.-capped Chickadee 105

Mountain Chickadee 130

Chickadee species 10

Red-breasted Nuthatch 10

White-breasted Nuthatch 2

Pygmy Nuthatch 3

Brown Creeper 1

American Dipper 2

Townsend’s Solitaire 1

American Robin 1

Bohemian Waxwing 569

American Tree Sparrow 10

Song Sparrow 11

Dark-eyed Junco 4

Snow Bunting 25

House Finch 37

Red Crossbill 2

Common Redpoll 25

Evening Grosbeak 7

House Sparrow 6

Total Number of Individual Birds 1,329

Total Number of Species 39

Thank you, Dianne Cooper, and all the field and feeder counters.

Submitted by Daryl Calder on behalf of Rocky Mountain Naturalists

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Kimberley residents were treated to the first Farmers' Market of the season, and the feeling of a return to normalcy. Paul Rodgers photos.
WATCH: Kimberley’s first Farmers’ Market of the season

Kimberley residents enjoyed the first Farmers’ Market of the year on Thursday,… Continue reading

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read