Despite bitterly cold -50C wind chill values on Sunday, January 05th, 19 wildlife observers in the locality of Togo, Saskatchewan counted a total of 813 birds and 71 mammals.

Doug Elsasser, who compiled count numbers provided by the other observers, said that a total of 19 bird species and 8 species of mammals were represented.

“On the actual count day, January 05th, most of the counting was done indoors by looking at bird feeders,” he said. The most unusual bird seen on that day was a Brown-headed Cowbird sighted south of Togo.  

House sparrows were the most abundant species recorded. The sparrow tally was 187 birds, followed by Snow Buntings at 165 and Black-capped Chickadees at 162.

The number of both Grosbeak species was down this year. Only 80 Evening Grosbeaks and 24 Pine Grosbeaks were seen.

The Togo locality bird and mammal count was part of a provincial effort sponsored by Nature Saskatchewan. Results are published in the group’s natural history journal called The Blue Jay.

Count compilers and observers are invited to record all birds and mammals sighted during the Dec 14th to January 05th count period, and make a special effort to sight and record wildlife on count day.

“During the count period, our observers spotted an adult Bald Eagle, a type of falcon called the Merlin, and a Northern Shrike,” said Elsasser. These predatory birds are on top of the food chain. Observers also spotted a variety of upland game birds, notably the Sharp-tailed Grouse, the Ruffed Grouse, and the Hungarian Partridge.

On the mammal side, observers in and around Togo saw 26 White-tailed deer and 24 Elk. Two Timber Wolves, one Moose, 7 Snowshoe Hares, and 4 Flying Squirrels were also recorded.

Nature Saskatchewan appreciates the effort that everyone takes in making the Christmas Bird and Mammal Count Saskatchewan’s most popular nature event.

Report courtesy of Doug Elsasser