Ottawa

Crow, Canada goose population explosions send Ottawa-Gatineau bird tallies soaring

The warm December weather and a spike in the populations of two common birds are factors behind some of the highest winter bird numbers around Ottawa-Gatineau in nearly a century.

Warm weather also factor in making Christmas bird count highest since 1919

Soaring Canada goose populations are partly the reason for 2015's record-breaking bird count in Ottawa-Gatineau, say organizers. (Danny Johnston/Associated Press)

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.

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