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Dancing Grouse highlights bird count!

By Michael Dawber
RR Librarian/CEO

While the calendar still said winter, the birds were Thinking Spring for Rainy River’s latest bird count.
Held March 15, the count was led by the Rainy River Recreation Centre and the Rainy River Public Library.
A highlight of the count was the springtime dancing display of the Sharp-tailed Grouse.
A well-known prairie species, the Sharp-tail is a Rainy River speciality seldom seen in many parts of Ontario.
One group of dancing Grouse was spotted west of Stratton on Highway 11.
A second group was seen on Atwood-Worthington Road 1 just north of the railway tracks.
In Rainy River itself, young birders joined librarian Michael Dawber and recreation programmer Justin Wagner for a walk around town.
The team made use of the Library’s award-winning Birding Buddies kits.
An un-spring-like wind chill did not deter the birders or the birds, most notably a Northern Shrike.
The predatory Shrike comes down from the Far North in wintertime, hunting smaller birds at feeders.
The count also turned up a healthy total of Snow Buntings and Pine Siskins.
Numbers for both have been very low this winter.

The full tally for the count was:
American Crow 21
Bald Eagle 2
Black-billed Magpie 19
Black-capped Chickadee 69
Blue Jay 13
Common Raven 17
Downy Woodpecker 5
European Starling 10
Hairy Woodpecker 6
House Sparrow 9
Northern Shrike 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Pine Siskin 8
Rock Pigeon 5
Sharp Tailed Grouse 20
Snow Bunting 32
White-breasted Nuthatch 9
Total Species 17
Total Individuals 247

The Library and Rec Centre staff would like to thank everyone who helped out with the count.
The Library plans to hold its next bird-watching program in May.