Saturday December 16, 2017 Banff Canmore Christmas Bird Count

Banff-Canmore Christmas Bird Count Takes Place Saturday, December 16th. Count yourself in!

Mallards are one of the few ducks you are guaranteed to see on the Count. Credit: Ethan Denton

The 2017 Banff-Canmore Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will take place on Saturday, December 16th. This will be the 43rd consecutive year for this local event organized by the Bow Valley Naturalists. Over the day, nature enthusiasts spread out over our area to observe, identify and count the birds they encounter. Participants can expect to find a dozen or two different species and spend some refreshing time outdoors.

You can sign up for the entire or part of the day, in either Banff or Canmore. For more information or to participate, in Banff contact Heather Dempsey at ; in Canmore contact Ethan Denton at For more information on the Count and past year’s results, go the Bow Valley Naturalists’ website at For the second year in a row there will be a Kids Christmas Bird Count in Canmore on December 9th. Call/ email Ethan Denton at 402-678- 4380 or for details.

Last year’s Count beat the previous record of participants, with 83 birders out despite the bitterly cold day and few birds. Collectively, participants tallied 37 different species, compared to the high 49 species the year before, and below the long term average of 43. The number of birds for the 2016 Count was also low at 1,854 individuals. Nobody can predict what kind of weather we can expect this coming Count, but it already looks like the conditions for last year’s low number of species may be the same for this year. If you look up into the tops of spruce trees in the valley you’ll see why. There are very few cones, or very little food, for seedeaters such as nuthatches, pine grosbeaks, crossbills and pine siskin to feed on. Instead, Ontario is predicting a high year for seedeaters with its bumper cone crop. On a positive note, Stellers’ jays have been seen recently in both communities. Every year brings it’s own birds, so expect something slightly different this year!

Look for Common Goldeneye in winter along open stretches of the Bow River or Lake Minnewanka. Credit: Ethan Denton

The procedure for CBCs requires that counting be done during one full day within a designated circle 24 kilometres in diameter. The Banff-Canmore count circle includes the Town of Banff west to Vermilion Lakes, and the Town of Canmore east to the Trans-Canada/Highway 1A interchange.

Participation in the count is free, and will be followed by a potluck supper at the Banff Seniors Centre, where results will be compiled and stories exchanged about the day’s activities.