The 123rd Christmas Bird Count in Manitoba

There were 20 counts held across the province this year, with the loss of Brandon, and a new count at East Braintree. The weather was not mentioned by compilers as a factor.


As usual, Winnipeg had the greatest number of count day species, with 44, followed by 38 at Cypress River and 37 at Portage, neck and neck for second and third spot.


There were 73 count day species recorded, two fewer than last year.  There were two additional species recorded in count week only, Northern Hawk Owl at Selkirk and Barred Owl at Balmoral.  There were five species found on every count: Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Common Raven, and Black-capped Chickadee.  At the other end, there were 15 species found on one count only.  Those not mentioned elsewhere were Spruce Grouse at The Pas, Willow Ptarmigan at Cranberry Portage, Golden Eagle at Lyleton, Red-tailed Hawk at Glenboro, American Coot in Winnipeg, Great Gray Owl at Riding Mountain, American Three-toed Woodpecker at Pinawa, Black-backed Woodpecker at Cranberry Portage, American Kestrel at Carman, Gyrfalcon at Portage la Prairie, and Hoary Redpoll at Pinawa.


Perhaps the most surprising bird was an immature Trumpeter Swan successfully overwintering on a tiny lead of open water in a ditch at Oak Hammock Marsh, a first for a Manitoba CBC.  Two American Black Ducks were reported in Winnipeg, although one of them later was noted to have some features indicating at least a little Mallard ancestry.  Canada Geese were reported from six counts and Common Goldeneye from five.


Eurasian Collared-Doves numbered 86 across six counts, with the bulk being 37 at Portage La Prairie, followed by 22 at Glenboro, and 21 at Cypress River.  Mourning Doves were found on two counts, with four at Delta Marsh/Portage Plains and one at Minnedosa.


Single Short-eared Owls graced Lyleton and Oak Hammock with their presence, as did a Northern Saw-whet Owl in Winnipeg.  A Red-headed Woodpecker was a surprise at Carman, as was a Red-bellied Woodpecker at Cypress River.  The latter species also numbered three in Winnipeg.


Brown Thrashers were found at Cypress River and Winnipeg. It wasn’t a stellar year for overwintering sparrows but did include six American Tree Sparrows at Portage La Prairie.  Seven Northern Cardinals were found, with two each at Oak Hammock and Pinawa, and singles at Portage La Prairie, Selkirk, and Winnipeg.


Winter finches weren’t remarkable unless American Goldfinch, with 734 across 11 counts, qualifies as a winter finch.