The 2011 Great Backyard Bird Count was a huge success; nearly 92,000 checklists were submitted in North America. Canadians submitted a record 7462 checklists and counted 647,402 individuals of 243 species. These numbers are well above those from 2010, when 6653 checklists totalled 228 species.
In Canada, the most widespread species this year was once again the Black-capped Chickadee, appearing on 5229 checklists. The American Crow was the most abundant species again, with 66,156 individuals reported. The biggest surprise came from Newfoundland and Labrador, where a Common Snipe (the Eurasian equivalent of the Wilson’s Snipe) was found.
Common Redpolls, one of the indicator species of northern finch invasions, surged in numbers from last year’s 14,606 to 61,787 this year. Most of these birds were seen in southeastern Canada; in the western half of the country they were largely confined to boreal forest areas. The Evening Grosbeak tally increased from 6581 last year to 9403 this year, a heartening result for a species which has declined significantly in numbers over the past 20 years.
Another species being watched closely is the Eurasian Collared-Dove, which is invading western Canada on a big scale. This year 367 were reported on 65 checklists as compared to 257 last year on 19 checklists.
Clearwater, BC (population 4960) again topped the community participation charts with 354 checklists. That total was enough to put Clearwater in sixth place overall among North American localities.