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Oak Bay birders break 50-year-old record in species count

Greater Victoria Christmas Bird Count saw 290 people document 138 species on Dec. 17

Oak Bay marked a new high in the Victoria Christmas Bird Count tally this year.

Local birders counted 90 species – a new record high in the more than 50-year history of the count – with 22 participants tallying13,920 individual birds during the Dec. 17 count.

“Team members scoured Uplands Park, Cattle Point, McMicking Point and other birding hotspots in Oak Bay. Highlights included a pair of short-billed dowitchers which are common migrants but very rare winter visitors on the B.C. coast. Other nice surprises included a Townsend’s solitaire, a red fox sparrow, a spotted sandpiper, and two species of owls – great horned and barred,” said Geoffrey Newell, coordinator of the Oak Bay Christmas Bird Count.

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Bird counters for the entire Victoria Christmas Bird Count saw more than 290 people head to the parks, beaches and neighbourhoods in the 15-mile circle that comprises the count area. They documented more than 83,000 individual birds of 138 species.

Unusual sightings included a blue jay – last recorded on the 1993 count – two clay-coloured sparrows and two short-billed dowitchers, both only recorded on one prior count. The most numerous species was American robin at 7,877 counted. Anna’s hummingbirds, a perennial favourite, totalled 1,053.

For results of the all Greater Victoria counts visit


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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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