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By Liza Barney, Science Educator, Bird Studies Canada

Photo: Hans Tammemagi

A successful 2017-18 Christmas Bird Count for Kids season has wrapped up in Canada. Fifty-eight events across the country gathered young birders to identify and count winter birds in their cities, parks, forests, prairies, wetlands, and coastal areas. An impressive 142 species were reported! The top five most commonly-observed birds were: Black-capped Chickadee, Mallard, Downy Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Dark-eyed Junco.
Participant Highlights:
Pender Island, BC – “Rain, rain and more rain, falling vertically and blown horizontally…our wettest CBC4Kids since starting 5 years ago. Special sightings included 2 river otters!”
Calgary, AB – “We saw 2 Great Horned Owls! So beautiful!!”
Fisher Branch, MB – “It was neat to see the flock of Bohemian Waxwings swooping around in the sky.”
Birds Hill, MB – “While on trail, kids were able to ID birds on their own using distinguishing characteristics we had discussed in the workshop. Kids were very proud of themselves for being able to identify birds by sight without adult help, including being able to ID if the Downy woodpecker was male or female.”
Stratford, ON – “Our grade 2/3 class had a wonderful time today walking at least 5 km. We saw a Common Merganser and a Red-breasted Nuthatch! 11 species in all!!  What a great way to spend an afternoon.”
Sydenham, ON – “We enjoyed watching one mature Bald Eagle, one immature (3rd-year) Bald Eagle, and one Common Raven circling above us, together. A great way to compare size differences, shapes, and colour patterns for these three large birds.”
Berwick, NS – “First Christmas Bird Count for Kids held in Berwick, NS. This event allowed the group, both young and older, to experience an abbreviated Christmas Bird Count. Everyone was surprised at the diversity of birds in such a small area of town environment.”

Photo: Neil Denton

CBC4Kids Notable Mention:
Ethan Denton is the CBC4Kids’ youngest coordinator. In partnership with the Bow Valley Naturalists, he organized the first event in Canmore, AB in 2016 when he was 13 years old!
Ethan led his second event on December 9, 2017 on the Canmore Boardwalk/Elevation Place. Event highlights included a Townsend’s Solitaire and the resident Mallards. Check out the Canmore CBC4Kids eBird checklist to find out what else the group spotted.
Thanks to Ethan for his enthusiasm and dedication to helping connect other youth in the Canmore community to birds and nature!

Photo: Colin McQuillan

Featured Regional Partners:
Since 2011, local chapters of NatureKids BC have been coordinating CBC4Kids events, and making this program a key component of their Family and Home Learner Clubs across the province.
See the fun in action in a video featuring the 2014 Stanley Park CBC4Kids. (Note: At that time, NatureKids BC was known as the Young Naturalists’ Club of BC.)
Thanks to all the NatureKids BC clubs for participating in and supporting this program in your communities!

CBC4Kids in the News:
The Sudbury, Ontario CBC4Kids, hosted by Conservation Sudbury at the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area, was featured on French-language TV station ICI Radio-Canada’s Ontario news report. Watch the video (in French only) to see the highlights!
Congratulations and many thanks to the organizations, event coordinators, sponsors, volunteers, families, and young birders who participated in the CBC4Kids program. Bird Studies Canada acknowledges the generous support of our 2017-18 national program sponsors, Armstrong Bird Food and the W. Garfield Weston Foundation.
To learn more, please visit Bird Studies Canada’s CBC4Kids webpage or the website of our U.S. Partner, Sonoma Birding. You can also be part of the CBC4Kids community by following @BSC_Education on Twitter and using the hashtag #CBC4Kids.

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