Chill in Yukon, need for volunteers in B.C., complicate annual bird counts

VANCOUVER — Bird enthusiasts in Yukon are battling the cold to conduct an annual Christmas bird count, while organizers of a yearly eagle tally in British Columbia are searching for new people to help in their survey.

The Yukon count has been underway for a week and Yukon Bird Club spokesman Cameron Eckert says few sightings were expected because temperatures have been far below normal, dipping to nearly -40 C at night.

But the birds don’t seem ruffled by the chilly conditions because Eckert says 25 species have already been spotted around Whitehorse, and south of there in the community of Tagish, 17 species have been noted, including a few rare sightings of brown creepers.

The count is a holiday tradition that Eckert says goes back 40 years.

In Squamish, B.C., counters are also preparing to conduct the 32nd annual winter eagle count, but the need for volunteers is complicating those plans.

The Squamish Environment Society says as many as 60 volunteers are needed for the Jan. 7 count, which relied on 54 people last year when 475 adult bald eagles and 209 juveniles were counted.

“Some routes in the Upper Squamish were accessed by cross country skiing and snowshoe in 2017,” says the society’s online post seeking volunteers.

“Some were surveyed by kayak or by raft. Most routes involve walking on trails that may be snow-covered, icy or muddy and are by no means maintained,” the society says, adding that counters explore all the “nooks and crannies where eagles may be found.”

The society says the busiest year for counters was in 1994 when nearly 3,800 adult and juvenile eagles were spotted, but there have been fewer in recent years.

The Explore Squamish website says the area is home to one of the largest gatherings of wintering bald eagles in North America because the birds are attracted by the remains of chum salmon that spawn and die in surrounding rivers.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Horrors of the Holocaust are remembered by Red Deerians

Shirley Rimer’s parents lost their entire families to the camps

Arlene Dickinson from Dragons’ Den in Red Deer: reinvent yourself through recession

Arlene Dickinson still remembers the time she got a strawberry milkshake dumped… Continue reading

Calgary sport school that grooms Olympic champions threatened with shutdown

CALGARY — The National Sport School in Calgary that produces Olympic and… Continue reading

Country music fans enjoy free concert at Red Deer mall, ahead of ACMA awards

Fans like to get up close and personal and that’s exactly what… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Feb. 1 A Jump Rope Competition will be held at the Abbey… Continue reading

Calgary sport school that grooms Olympic champions threatened with shutdown

CALGARY — The National Sport School in Calgary that produces Olympic and… Continue reading

Quebec to seek consensus on offering medical aid in dying to mentally ill

MONTREAL — Quebec on Monday walked back a plan to offer medical… Continue reading

GOP defends Trump as Bolton book adds pressure for witnesses

WASHINGTON — Senators faced mounting pressure Monday to summon John Bolton to… Continue reading

Venezuelan opposition leader meets Champagne, Trudeau as part of world tour

OTTAWA — Canada wants to “reinvigorate” the effort to bring democracy to… Continue reading

Quebec mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette seeks reduced sentence

QUEBEC — A lawyer representing convicted Quebec City mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette… Continue reading

Quebec police find bodies of two of four missing French snowmobilers

ST-HENRI-DE-TAILLON, Que. — A Quebec provincial police search-and-rescue team retrieved the bodies… Continue reading

Leaders pay tribute, MPs call for justice for Canadians who died on Flight PS752

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has paid tribute in the House… Continue reading

Most Read