The North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club completed its annual swan and eagle counts Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (Claude Rioux - NONC photo)

The North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club completed its annual swan and eagle counts Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (Claude Rioux - NONC photo)

North Okanagan bird count shows decrease in swan and eagle numbers

Trumpeter swans were down 61 per cent from last year’s count; eagles down 14 per cent

The North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club (NONC) conducted its 41st annual swan count and its 27th eagle count in the region Sunday, Jan. 17.

In temperatures ranging from 0 to 4 C, observers worked through patches of fog in the Lumby, Mabel Lake, north Vernon and Sicamous areas.

They counted a total of 57 trumpeter swans, 12 of which were juvenile. The total was down from 148 the previous year — a 61 per cent drop.

The Vernon-based group also counted 124 eagles, 30 of which were immature. Of this total, four specimens were golden eagles in Lavington, Lumby or along the southern route to Mabel Lake.

This year’s eagle count was down from 148 last year — an 14 per cent drop.

A total of 21 observers completed all routes within the region, covering runs from Oyama to Mara Lake and Sicamous, and from Ellison Park to Lumby, Rawlings Lake and the south end of Mabel Lake.

“This important ‘citizen science’ initiative began in the Kamloops/Thompson River area in the 1970s,” the NONC stated in a press release. “It has expanded to include the Shuswap and Okanagan regions, as well as Merritt and as far north as Prince George.”

Data collected by the NONC is summarized by a Kamloops-based biologist and has been used by undergraduate students in past years.

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Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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