Ladner aflutter at beating Victoria in bird count

VANCOUVER — The last bushtit and swamp sparrow has yet to be tabulated but it appears that Ladner has swooped in and defeated its traditional rival Victoria to claim the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Ladner recorded a one-day tally of 144 species — with the prospect of more to come — compared with Victoria’s 139 species.

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“They’re our main competition,” Jude Grass, organizer of the Ladner bird count, said Wednesday. “But they had bad weather and we lucked out. So this should make us No. 1.”

Vancouver has posted 134 bird species on the B.C. Field Ornithologists website, Parksville-Qualicum Beach 112, Nanoose Bay and Pitt Meadows 109 each, Kelowna 108, Comox 105, Penticton 104, and Sunshine Coast 101.

Last year, Victoria and Ladner tied at 140 species, highest in the country. Victoria has the overall record of 154 species in 2004.

“They definitely got us this year,” conceded Ann Nightingale, who co-ordinated the Victoria bird count. “We had very high winds in the morning. The birds were smarter than the birders and stayed under cover.”

The rivalry for top crowing rights is friendly.

“They [Victoria] kind of get birders out spotting during the week so they know where the birds are,” Grass noted. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not considering it cheating or anything like that, but they like to sound out their areas ahead of time.”

The Ladner bird count occurred Sunday with the help of 50 or so volunteers, compared with 225 in Victoria on Dec. 15.

— Vancouver Sun

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