Crow, Canada goose population explosions send Ottawa-Gatineau bird tallies soaring
Warm weather also factor in making Christmas bird count highest since 1919
Warm weather and a major uptick in the local crow and Canada goose populations are contributing to some of the highest winter bird numbers around the Ottawa-Gatineau area in nearly a century.
Earlier this week, more than 100 birders spread out and covered a 19-kilometre radius around Parliament Hill for the region's annual Christmas bird count, a local tradition since 1919.
Approximately 35,000 individual birds were tallied up during the count, the highest number since records started being kept, said organizer Bernie Ladouceur, a member of the Ottawa Field Naturalists.
"Some species are doing awfully well, and Canada goose is one of them," said Ladouceur, who was outside counting Monday for about 11 hours in Gloucester.
In all, more than two-thirds of the total count — about 25,000 individual birds — were either crows or Canada geese, said Ladouceur.
Birders also tallied 86 different bird species — the second-highest number ever, Ladouceur added. That includes five species that have never been included in the Christmas count before because they usually migrate south in September.