Again this year during the 115th Christmas Bird Count, the CBC was very successful in Quebec. A total of 148 species and two hybrids were observed on count day or during count week, including 48 aquatic species (33% of all species), 21 raptors (diurnal and nocturnal; 14%), and 79 terrestrial birds (grouse, woodpeckers, perching birds; 53%).
Forty counts were conducted in Quebec. Two new counts were added this year: Bouchette and Neuville-Tilly. The most popular days for counts were December 14th and 20th, respectively with 15 and 11 censuses. An impressive total of 1056 people participated in the census (907 in the field and 149 at feeders). Quebec had the highest number of observers (113), followed by Montreal (72).
The 148 species of birds and both hybrids observed in Quebec counts totaled 264,809 individuals. St-Jean-sur-Richelieu ranked first with 78,116 birds, mainly due to the presence of a large American Crow roost; it was followed distantly by Granby with 25,667 birds (also thanks to large numbers of crows). Longueuil had the largest number of species (76), closely followed by Montreal (75) and Quebec (66).
Two species were reported on all Quebec counts: Common Raven and Black-capped Chickadee, while three species were only missed on one count (Rock Pigeon, Blue Jay, and American Crow) and four species were only missed on two counts (Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, European Starling, and American Goldfinch). The most abundant species were American Crow (107,298, of which 72,679 were at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and 22,402 at Granby), European Starling (23,271), Black-capped Chickadee (10,454), Rock Pigeon (15,598), and Mallard (10,454).
Among species of concern, there were 57 Harlequin Duck (Forillon and Gaspé) and 609 Barrow's Goldeneye (on seven counts). A total of 84 Bald Eagles were seen on 25 counts. Two Golden Eagles were reported, while 24 Peregrine Falcon were seen on 10 counts. Two Short-eared Owls (1 in Jean-sur-Richelieu and 1 in Longueuil), one Loggerhead Shrike (Forillon), and three Rusty Blackbirds (1 in New Richmond and 2 in Percé) were also observed.
In terms of rare species (in general or for the season), the following species seen on only one count this year: King Eider (1 at Îles-de-la-Madeleine [hereafter IdlM]), Great Egret (1 at IdlM) Lesser Black-backed Gull (1 at Longueuil), Dovekie (2 at IdlM), White-winged Dove (1 at IdlM), Boreal Owl (1 at Forillon), American Three-toed Woodpecker (1 in Chicoutimi), Townsend's Solitaire (1 in Chicoutimi), Brown Thrasher (1 in Granby), Nashville Warbler (1 in Montreal), Yellow-throated Warbler (1 at Mirabel), Common Yellowthroat (1 at Islands), Field Sparrow (1 at St-Jean-sur-Richelieu), Lincoln's Sparrow, (1 at Quebec), Swamp Sparrow (1 at St-Timothée), and Bullock’s Oriole (1 at Forillon). Finally, the hybrid Greater White-fronted Goose X Canada Goose at Longueuil is noteworthy.
An interesting observation of 133 Common Eider in flight over the Chaudière River (Beauce-Sud CBC) supports the concept of overland migration of this species that winters on the mid-Atlantic coast.