Family Christmas Bird Count

Date: December 14, 2018 Author: EcoSpark Categories: Latest

‘Tis the season for Christmas Bird Counts!

Interested in birding and citizen science? Join Friends of Sam Smith at this year’s annual Family Christmas Bird Count on Boxing Day at Colonel Sam Smith Park!

For those of you who have not yet heard, Colonel Samuel Smith Park in South Etobicoke, Ontario has a committed community group of local residents and park users dedicated to protecting, enhancing and promoting the naturalized areas of the park. Over this Christmas break join Friends of Sam Smith Park (FOSS) as they continue the Christmas Bird Count. This event began two years ago and takes place on Boxing Day, December 26. The purpose of the event as described by FOSS is to “get people out to the park looking for birds,” and it “makes local residents aware of what birds are around, but also contributes to the science of what is happening with our bird numbers.”

The Christmas Bird Count is considered by many to be the longest running citizen science project and contributes invaluable data on the status of resident and migratory birds across the Western Hemisphere. Any citizen of any age or skill level can participate in this citizen science project as it is free.

How its done:

Go out in the park on December 26 and look for birds. Keep track of the time of day you visited the park, all the bird species you saw in the park or on the water as well as how many of each species you found and send a list along to FOSS (see address at end of article) so they can add them to the overall Christmas Bird Count. If the weather is poor on the 26th then use the 27th for your count. Try to send a photo with or without birds. We will try to place some of them on the FOSS website (no faces please).

Last year some uncommon species were found at the park. These included the Tufted Duck and the Purple Sandpiper and both of these species were considered to be very much outside of the winter range. There were also various Snowy Owl sightings at Colonel Sam Smith Park generally found in the marina either on the docks or on the frozen bay. FOSS Steering Committee member Barbara Keaveney described this event as important because “this draws new people into birding, even on a small scale, and also encourages them to explore their own local park.”

Send your Bird Count to Brian Keaveney, President of FOSS. [email protected] by December 28th.

You can scan your list and send the scan by email or just include the data in the body of the email. Results will be posted on the FOSS website (

Note: Bring a colour bird book with you to help identify birds or ask another birder that day.

Carina is an Environmental Education Assistant with the Changing Currents Program at EcoSpark. She is passionate about aquatic ecosystems and educating young minds on the connections between land and water. She recently graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies from York University and a diploma in Ecosystem Management Technology from Sir Sandford’s Fleming College, School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences.


This citizen science initiative is supported by FOSS.