The Rocky Mountain Naturalists say the total numbers of birds in both communities are well above average.
Volunteers and biologists headed out into the wilderness between December 29th and January 5th to count the number of birds within a 24-kilometre diameter of each community.
For Cranbrook's count, the area includes the St. Eugene Mission to Moyie Lake and from Old Wycliffe to Gold Creek.
Counters tallied a total of 3,464 birds between 43 different species, which is up 30% from the average of 2,665 birds.
680 Bohemian Waxwings were tallied, and while they were the most abundant species in the area, they were well below the norm of 867.
On the other hand, they found record numbers of nine different species, including American Crows (293), Common Goldeneyes (89), Eurasian Collared-Doves (10), Blue Jays (28), American Goldfinch (66), Dark-eyed Junco (149), and Northern Flicker.
This marked the first time that Spotted Towhees and Cedar Waxwings were found in the counts, with one of each being recorded.
The five most common species of birds in the Cranbrook area are as follows:
- Bohemian Waxwings - 680
- Pine Siskin - 437
- Mallard - 336
- Common Raven - 310
- American Crow - 293
Kimberley also saw an overall increase in their number of birds, rising 7% from the average of 2,458 to 2,628. A total of 49 different species were noted, which is also above the average of 42.
This year saw a record number of Pine Siskin at 394, making it the most abundant bird in the area. There are typically more Bohemian Waxwings than any other species of bird around Kimberley, with this count registering 326.
Record numbers are being reported for six other breeds, including American Crow (222), Common Raven (287), Rock Pigeon (95), Northern Flicker (45), Red-breasted Nuthatch (127), and Red Crossbill (237).
There were only half the expected numbers of Common Redpolls (92), and the eight Pine Grosbeaks are far below the average of 47.
American Kestrels made their debut in Kimberley this year.
The five most common species of birds in the Kimberley area are as follows:
- Pine Siskin - 394
- Bohemian Waxwing - 326
- Common Raven - 287
- Red Crossbill - 237
- American Crow - 222