Semipalmated Plover. Photo © Sandy Barro

NWO Fall Bird Roundup

2020 Roundup (Click to Expand)

At least 67 people in 28 parties participated in the 2020 fall roundup of birds. This year 8,692 birds of 84 species were tallied. Reports were submitted from Atikokan, Dorion, Dryden, Kakabeka Falls, Marathon, Pearl, Pigeon River, Rainy River, Raith, Sioux Lookout, Sunshine, Terrace Bay, and Thunder Bay. At the Thunder Bay Airport the min/max temperatures that day were -1.4 and 6.6oC, the sky was overcast and there was a light east wind. There were 14 species that were reported by only one party: Canvasback, Black Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Spruce Grouse, Turkey Vulture, Great-horned Owl, Barred Owl, Black-backed Woodpecker, Merlin, Boreal Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Purple Finch, Fox Sparrow, and Song Sparrow. Only one of the Evening Grosbeaks was sighted in Thunder Bay. Little attempt has been made to track down multiple sightings of the same birds, though totals have been adjusted for obvious duplicates. 

Thank you everyone for providing data to produce this unique snapshot of the state of Thunder Bay’s birds late in the fall. 

The top 10 most abundant species counted: 

  • 1,498       Canada Goose 
  • 825 American Crow
  • 706 Rock Pigeon
  • 702 Common Raven
  • 612 Herring Gull
  • 506 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 362 European Starling
  • 287 Pine Grosbeak
  • 248 House Sparrow

Species are listed in phylogenetic order in accordance with the 59th AOU Supplement (2018) 

*Little attempt has been made to separate-out multiple sightings of the same birds by different parties. That being said, multiple parties observed the one Ruddy Duck and the one King Eider. There were 2 Coots at Chippewa also observed by multiple parties. 

John Woodcock

McKellar Island Bird Observatory

TOTALSpecies Name*TOTALSpecies Name*
18Cackling Goose1Black-backed Woodpecker
1,498Canada Goose53Downy Woodpecker
5Tundra Swan49Hairy Woodpecker
13American Widgeon10Pileated Woodpecker
6American Black Duck X Mallard Hybrid66Canada Jay
3American Black Duck129Blue Jay
1Canvasback23Black-billed Magpie
7Redhead825American Crow
2Ring-necked Duck702Common Raven
28Greater Scaup506Black-capped Chickadee
54Lesser Scaup1Boreal Chickadee
1King Elder*204Red-breasted Nuthatch
1Black Scoter11White-breasted Nuthatch
1Long-tailed Duck1Golden-crowned Kinglet
223Bufflehead1Ruby-crowned Kinglet
163Common Goldeneye2Eastern Bluebird
184Hooded Merganser23American Robin
84Common Merganser362European Starling
16Red-breasted Merganser64Bohemian Waxwing
1Ruddy Duck*5Cedar Waxwing
28Ruffed Grouse248House Sparrow
1Spruce Grouse248Evening Grosbeak
21Sharp-tailed Grouse287Pine Grosbeak
5Wild Turkey2House Finch
706Rock Pigeon1Purple Finch
4Mourning Dove151Common Redpoll
4American Coot*8Hoary Redpoll
2Wilson’s Snipe12Red Crossbill
7Bonaparte’s Gull135White-winged Crossbill
59Ring-billed Gull32Pine Siskin
612Herring Gull10American Goldfinch
2Glaucous Gull3Lapland Longspur
6Common Loon147Snow Bunting
1Turkey Vulture17American Tree Sparrow
221Bald Eagle1Fox Sparrow
9Rough-legged Hawk1Song Sparrow
1Great Horned Owl4White-throated Sparrow
3Snowy Owl2White-crowned Sparrow
5Great Gray Owl76Dark-eyed Junco
1Barred Owl8Rusty Blackbird
2Belted Kingfisher5Common Grackle
4Northern Cardinal
8,692Total Indviduals
84Total Species

2019 Roundup (Click to Expand)

Saturday Nov. 2, 2019 was a great day to get out and participate in the annual Fall Roundup. Twenty-nine parties participated this year, one more party than last year. Collectively, they observed 82 species, down slightly from 88 in 2018. The total number of birds reported (11,077) was up from 7,813 last year. Much of this increase is attributable to the huge flocks of Snow Buntings found seemingly everywhere. In Thunder Bay the weather cooperated except for some wind in the afternoon. The temperature hovered around zero, it was partly cloudy and there was a trace of snow. The wind was from the west at 10 to 20 km/hr.

Compared to 2018; raptor numbers were down, pigeon numbers were up (could there be a correlation?), corvid numbers were up, junco & sparrow numbers were down, blackbird numbers were down and Snow Bunting numbers were over 3 times higher than last year.

Observed in the 2018 fall roundup but not observed this year were: any grebes, Mute Swan, Black Duck, Pintail, 2 species of scoters, Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Sandhill Crane, Golden Plover, White Pelican, kingfisher, Red-bellied & Black-backed Woodpeckers, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Townsend’s Solitaire, Chipping sp., Fox sp., White-crowned sp., Rusty Blackbird and redpolls.

Observed in the 2019 fall roundup but not observed last year were: Cackling Goose, Redhead, Greater Scaup, Golden Eagle, Goshawk, Coot, Dunlin, Nashville Warbler, Song Sparrow, eastern Meadowlark, Summer Tanager and Red Crossbill.

Little attempt has been made to separate-out multiple sightings of the same birds by different parties. That being said, it is likely that there were indeed 2 Western Meadowlarks around, one at Chippewa and another in the fields  south of Viterra; 2 parties saw the same Summer Tanager.

Four of the Cackling Geese were sitting in the fenced area in-front of Keefer Terminal. No Black-backed Woodpeckers or Black Ducks were observed but one of each was seen the day after the count.

To everyone who participated in this outstanding ‘citizen science project’, many thanks! Events like this contribute significantly to our understanding of the birds in our environment.

TOTALSpecies Name*TOTALSpecies Name*
2Common Loon49Canada Jay
4Snow Goose130Blue Jay
6Cackling Goose10Black-billed Magpie
1,789Canada Goose1,669American Crow
11Trumpeter Swan344Common Raven
46American Widgeon36Horned Lark
77Mallard340Black-capped Chickadee
3American Green-winged Teal6Boreal Chickadee
16Redhead84Red-breasted Nuthatch
62Ring-necked Duck5White-breasted Nuthatch
20Greater Scaup2Brown Creeper
57Lesser Scaup1Winter Wren
14Scaup sp.4Golden-crowned Kinglet
2Black Scoter65American Robin
199Bufflehead230European Starling
205Common Goldeneye32Bohemian Waxwing
303Hooded Merganser2Cedar Waxwing
29Common Merganser1Nashville Warbler
20Ruffed Grouse8American Pipit
9Spruce Grouse108Lapland Longspur
14Sharp-tailed Grouse2,615Snow Bunting
1Golden Eagle39American Tree Sparrow
3Northern Harrier1Fox Sparrow
1Northern Goshawk2Song Sparrow
178Bald Eagle3White-throated Sparrow
5Red-tailed Hawk1White-crowned Sparrow
19Rough-legged Hawk84Dark-eyed Junco
1Broad-winged Hawk2Western Meadowlark
4Merlin1Meadowlark sp.
11American Coot8Red-winged Blackbird
1Dunlin23Common Grackle
2Wilson’s Snipe1Summer Tanager
1Bonaparte’s Gull7Evening Grosbeak
167Ring-billed Gull5Purple Finch
400Herring Gull24Pine Grosbeak
1,176Rock Pigeon6Red Crossbill
3Mourning Dove3White-winged Crossbill
1Northern hawk-owl63Pine Sisken
40Downy Woodpecker151American Goldfinch
46Hairy Woodpecker67House Sparrow
14Pileated Woodpecker11,077Total Individuals
2Northern Shrike82Total Species