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Saskatoon Fall Migration Bird Count
12. September 2015

by Kyron Giroux

The Nature Society's 2015 Fall Bird Count took place on Saturday, September 12th. It was a calm and very warm day, reaching almost 30° Celsius. The count was slightly below average, partially due to the warm weather, with a total of 36,460 individual birds and a total of 142 species, the long-term means being 45,197 and 145 respectively.

Waterfowl numbers were all pretty unsurprising; most of them were right around average or slightly below. The only two species that were far from their long-term means were Canvasback with 407 individuals, much higher than its average of 145, and Redhead with 262 individuals, slightly higher than its average of 112.

Similar to the waterfowl, Eagles, Hawks, Vultures, Owls and Falcons were all pretty average, with the exception of the Osprey. There was a surprising 7 individuals reported which is quite a bit higher than the average of 2. However, as many of the Osprey were reported by city teams, it cannot be ruled out that it may have been only one or two individuals flying around the city.

Although it has been a dry year, many water levels are still high from previous years. As such, shorebird numbers are still almost all below average due to a lack of shoreline. Again, there is an exception with the Red-necked Phalarope, a single flock of around 500 birds was reported by one of the teams, which is much higher than their average of 43 birds.

Again, similar to everything else, warbler numbers were below average. With a total of 11 species, and five of them being represented by only one or two individuals. The only two species that came close to the average were Orange-crowned Warbler with 45 birds, and Yellow-rumped Warbler with 458 birds; both still lower than their long-term means of 58 and 627 respectively.

A few other species of note include a very low count of Flycatchers and Vireos, with only 8 species being recorded between the two families, and only one or two individuals of each species. There was a surprising single Tree Swallow reported. Black-capped Chickadee and Red-breasted Nuthatch numbers were slightly above average, with a total of 352 and 94 birds respectively. A surprising pair of Brown-headed Cowbirds was seen during a feeder watch. Even House Sparrow numbers were well below their average of 935 birds with only 427 individuals reported.

You can download the complete tabulated report here:

Results of bird count September 2015September 2015 Bird Count report - combined city data (970 KB)

Results of bird count September 2015September 2015 Bird Count report - data per city sector (legal paper format, 1 MB)

Last updated: 16 November, 2015