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Censuses and Surveys

KFN Spring and Fall Roundups

Starting in 1960 groups of members have taken part in competitions in May and November to find the most bird species within a 50 km radius of Kingston in a 24-hour period. At the end the participants would tally the results, and award the Art Bell trophy to the team with the most species and the dreaded “Purple Vulture” trophy to the runner-up.

These roundups were enjoyable as well as challenging, but over time the number of members interested in competitive birding started to diminish. In 2018 the decision was taken to change the format, and now the events are conducted more like a Christmas Bird Count. KFN members, working as individuals or in small groups, cover as much of the Kingston Circle as possible, recording all of their sightings. The numbers are the tallied on Sunday afternoon. For the Fall Roundup, the tally is followed by a pot-luck supper at a member’s house

The data gathered during the Roundups provide a snapshot of seasonal bird populations over a 40+-year period.

National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Counts

Throughout Canada, the United States, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and some Pacific islands, the Christmas Bird count obtains data on birds, providing valuable insights into the long-term health of avian populations and the environment. The first Ontario count commenced in 1900. KFN members organize and participate in five or six local National Audubon Society Christmas Counts, with results published in American Birds. Counts are held on one day within a three-week period around Christmas. Participants are organized into parties that count the number of each species seen within a 24-km diameter circle. The location of established count areas remains the same each year. Count data are used to measure long-term trends relating to winter bird distribution and abundance.

Mid-winter Waterfowl Inventories

Conducted for the Canadian Wildlife Service in early January, when waterfowl are most sedentary, throughout North America. Consult the Newsletter for the dates of the next count.

[Concluded] International Survey of Wintering Bald Eagles

St. Lawrence river from Wolfe Island to Brockville, including the Thousand Islands bridge area. Bald Eagles were found to be wintering in the Thousand Islands in the early eighties by Gerry Smith from Derby Hill, N.Y. He organized the government agencies in the United States and Canada to take an interest and invited the KFN to help out. In cooperation with the Canadian Wildlife Service, Parks Canada, the Ministry of Natural Resources and several U.S. agencies, the club has been conducting ground surveys during January-February for the birds and their roosts since 1984. The number of birds has increased from one or two individuals to as many as thirty wintering in the area.

Canadian Lakes Loon Survey

Initiated by the Long Point Bird Observatory in the early 1900s, is a long-term project designed to monitor the abundance and breeding success of Common Loons across Canada. Bird Studies Canada now manages this project.

Canadian Wildlife Service Breeding Bird Survey

(BBS) is a major information source for population changes of terrestrial birds along roadsides in North America. In Ontario, the BBS began with three routes in 1967 and expanded to about 95 routes in 1995. Volunteers cover routes by car on one morning in June every year. Birds are identified by song or sight at 50 three-minute stops placed every 0.8 km. The BBS is coordinated by the Canadian Wildlife Service, and in Ontario by the Long Point Bird Observatory.

Seasonal Migration Summary

Four of these summaries per year, one for each season, are prepared by the KFN Bird Records Chair and published in National Audubon Field Notes. More detailed seasonal summaries are published quarterly in the Blue Bill. Much of the information used to compile these summaries comes from the results of various field trips, our semi-annual roundups, Christmas counts and some of the surveys listed in this article. The seasonal migration picture would be incomplete, however, without the input of observations from KFN birders from their individual or group birding efforts. These observations are recorded on bird record card files which have been maintained for over 40 years by the Bird Records Committee. The file is the database for writing books, briefs, special submissions to wildlife/environmental agencies and articles such as the Seasonal Migration Summary. It is extremely important, therefore, that members send in their sightings to the contact member listed below. See Blue Bill Vol. 44, No. 2, June, 1997, page 68 for more details.