Patti Campsall
For the Lakeside Leader

On December 18th, local bird lovers took part in the 28th Annual Slave Lake Christmas Bird Count. The goal of the day was to count all the wintering birds in the area as part of an Audubon citizen science program that monitors winter bird populations across North America. Despite the chilly temperatures that day, 24 participants managed to spot 1,377 birds from 21 different species. Participants will find many of these bird species around busy bird feeders or treed backyards in local neighborhoods as well as some of the local forest areas.

Top five species this year were the common raven (627 – most of them at the regional landfill), house sparrow (153), Bohemian waxwing (152), black-capped chickadee (148) and black-billed magpie (87). Some highlights included a brown creeper, bald eagle, northern shrike, common goldeneyes, and even recording a new species! Thanks to some tips from local residents, a beautiful Steller’s jay was recorded for the very first time in the Slave Lake Christmas Bird Count. This striking dark blue jay is usually found in the mountains, but it appears to be hanging around in the area this winter.

Thank you to the enthusiastic participants this year as well as the many residents that were providing well-stocked bird feeders this winter. Both the birds and the bird counters really appreciated your support on such a cold day.

Twelve of the 24 participants in the 2022 Slave Lake Christmas Bird Count.
Photo courtesy of the Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory.