Guelph’s Christmas Bird Count (CBC)

Click the coloured areas to get a detailed map of each region
Image Map

Participation in Guelph’s 54th Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is FULL

Regretfully we’ve had to limit participation in the 2020 CBC due to Covid and as a result the groups are now all full. We hope to operate at full capacity next year and be able to invite everyone who is interested to participate.

About the Christmas Bird Count (CBC)

Every December, people all over the world participate in a citizen science project called the Christmas Bird Count. The Guelph count takes place in a 24km diameter circle around the city, and is divided into sections. Birders go out in teams to identify and count as many birds as possible in a single day in their section and results are compiled at a “tally rally” at the end of the day. The data is an important contribution to knowledge of wintering bird populations and how they are changing over time. You can find more information on the CBC on Bird Studies Canada’s website at:

The CBC is a great way to participate in avian science, learn a little about the birds that spend their winters here in Guelph, spend time exploring Guelph’s various habitats, and make some new birder friends. People of all levels of experience are welcome to participate.  


By: Mike Cadman, CBC Coordinator

We had a record turnout of 83 participants (up from last year’s record high of 73). Overall it was a slow day, perhaps due to the strong winds which were 20-31 km all day, with temperatures ranging from -6 Celcius to -1. There were 2-8 cm of snow on the ground and it was mostly cloudy. Still water was mostly frozen and moving water was open.

We found 60 species, which is on the low side for recent years, and tallied a total of 12,808 birds which is close to recent years’ average, but well down from totals of over 20,000 in both 2011 and 2012. But this year, we had a record count of Canada Geese (6427) making up over half of the total, so many birds were in lower numbers than usual.

We also had new record high numbers of Bald Eagles (10) and tied the record for Great Egret (1, which was previously reported only in 2011) and Common Yellowthroat (1, previously reported only in 2006). Another unusual bird was the Northern Mockingbird. In Count Week, we also had Eastern Towhee (1), Turkey Vulture (1) and Field Sparrow (1).

There were very low numbers of American Tree Sparrow (72), which is the second lowest ever count; House Finch (28), which is the lowest since 1984 soon after the species arrived in Guelph; House Sparrow (122), second lowest count ever; Blue Jay (70), which was the third lowest count.

Winter finches stayed in the Boreal forest this year, except for one flock of 12 Common Redpolls, though another group of 25 “Finch sp” might have been Redpolls.

Thanks to everyone who helped out with collecting the data, especially the 13 group leaders. Thanks also to Wild Birds Unlimited for donating a prize for a lucky CBC participant. Special thanks to Dave and Margaret Hull for hosting the tally rally for the 12th straight year. This was Dave and Margaret’s last year hosting the wrap-up and all CBC participants are very grateful for their warm hospitality.

Incidentally, this means that we are now looking for someone to host the wrap-up for the 2020 count and beyond. If you’re interested in hosting 20-40 cold but very friendly and appreciative birders for the December 20, 2020, tally rally, please contact me at Thanks!

Here’s the total list of birds reported:

Species Totals
Canada Goose 6427
Mute Swan 4
Trumpeter Swan 4
Black Duck 30
Mallard 1567
Bufflehead 5
Common Goldeneye 11
Hooded Merganser 6
Common Merganser 63
Ruffed Grouse 4
Wild Turkey 75
Great Blue Heron 9
Bald Eagle 10
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Cooper’s Hawk 5
Goshawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 62
American Kestrel 1
Merlin 1
Ring-billed Gull 265
Herring Gull 51
Great black-backed Gull 2
Rock Pigeon 355
Mourning Dove 166
Eastern Screech-Owl 3
Great Horned Owl 2
Belted Kingfisher 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 13
Downy Woodpecker 57
Hairy Woodpecker 17
Pileated Woodpecker 5
Northern Shrike 1
Blue Jay 70
American Crow 398
Common Raven 33
Horned Lark 8
Black-capped Chickadee 723
Red-breasted Nuthatch 25
White-breasted Nuthatch 43
Brown Creeper 16
Winter Wren 3
Golden-crowned Kinglet 31
American Robin 78
Eurasian Starling 1062
Bohemian Waxwing 0
Cedar Waxwing 84
American Tree Sparrow 72
Song Sparrow 7
Swamp Sparrow 4
White-throated Sparrow 7
Dark-eyed Junco 355
Snow Bunting 29
Northern Cardinal 91
House Finch 28
Common Redpoll 12
American Goldfinch 244
House Sparrow 126
MallardXAmerican Black Duck 1
Great Egret 1
Green-winged Teal 3
Northern PintailxMallard 1
Northern Mockingbird 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
Finch Sp 25


Note – the following information was posted in November, 2019 on how to get involved in Guelph’s 53rd Christmas Bird Count, which took place on Sunday, December 15, 2019. It will be updated in November of 2021 as we approach the date of the next Christmas Bird Count, which we hope will occur in December of 2021  

How To Take Part in Guelph’s CBC

To register for Guelph’s CBC and to get more information (including where and when to meet and what to bring), volunteers are asked to contact one of the leaders of the 13 sections. Take a look at the Guelph Christmas Bird Count Circle graphic to the right to see the layout and location of the 13 sections. Choose the section you would like to count within and contact the corresponding count leader. Count leader contact info can be found in the 2019 Section Leaders table below. Please note that meeting locations and start times will vary depending on which section you are counting in, so please verify with your section leader. If you have any other questions you can also contact the count coordinator, Mike Cadman, directly at

Other Details:

– Please note that this event is NOT dog-friendly; please leave pets at home.
– Please dress for the weather as we will be outside for most of the day. We suggest you bring something to drink and eat.
– Bring binoculars, a notebook and pencil, and spotting scope if you have one.

* Older children are welcome, but keep in mind that this will be a long day in the elements and that the goal is to see as many birds as possible and to contribute this data to citizen science. Younger children or ones who are not avid birders already may not have the stamina or interest to attend this event. They will likely have much more fun at our Christmas Bird Count for Kids event that will be held on December 21. For more information visit:

2019 Section Leaders:

Area Number Area Name Contact Phone            E-mail
1       Hanlon Valley  Larry Staniforth 519-767-2693
2       Aberfoyle       Dave Brewer 519-763-0997
3       Little Tract    Dan Riley 226-820-3750
4       Reformatory     Greg Meredith 519-241-5325
5       Speed River     Ron Lohr    519-824-9230
6       West End    Rohan van Twest 519-823-5390
7       The Desert     Mike Lepage 519-821-9555
8       Kortright       Jenn Bock 519-400-2918
9       Eramosa River     Mike Cadman 519-822-9834
10      Halton      Kyle Horner 519-835-0944
11      Guelph Lake    Marnie Benson 519-830-4412
12      Rockwood        Bill McIlveen     n/a
13 Arkell Gard Otis 519-837-0441