Eyes in the sky
Birders from throughout the province will soon be flocking to Kingston.
The annual Kingston Bird Count is slated for Dec. 23. The event will see avid bird watchers searching the skies in both inland and Bay of Fundy communities from East Aylesford to Middleton.
Wayne Neily of Tremont has been participating in counts since 1963.
“It’s one of these things that ordinary people can do to help contribute to the database of information available on birds that is used all the time for planning their management and conservation,” he says.
The search area, a circular region with a diameter of 24 kilometres, uses Bridge Street in Kingston as a focal point. About 125 species have been recorded during count days in the past, with the Kingston crew spotting 61 different species of birds last year alone.
“Ever year there is something different. Last year we had our first northern shovellers,” says Neily, referring to a type of duck.
Listing the American crow, European starling, gold finches and black-capped chickadees among the most common finds, Neily says the region is diverse as an area with inland species and seabirds.
“You’re likely to get a few more along the coast,” he says, adding that there was a recent report of an oriole in Kingston.
The Kingston count is part of a nation-wide wildlife survey happening from Dec.14 to Jan. 7 as part of the 117th annual Christmas Bird Count. Some birders will rise before dawn and continue their watch until dark to help collect data for the wildlife-monitoring program.
“Each year, Bird Studies Canada and the National Audubon Society help to co-ordinate the efforts of over 75,000 volunteer bird counters at more than 2,500 locations across the Western Hemisphere. Counts occur across Canada and the United States, as well as in Latin America, the Caribbean, and some Pacific Islands,” a recent release from Bird Studies Canada reads.
“The Christmas Bird Count program benefits from the energy and skills of thousands of volunteer citizen scientists to track the health of bird populations at a scale that professional scientists could never accomplish alone.”
The Kingston group is looking for volunteers to help out in the field or as feeder observers on count day. Anyone wishing to participate can contact Neily at Neilyornis@hotmail.com or 902-765-2455.
Countless types of birds are expected to be spotted during the annual Kingston Bird Count.
Bird watchers in Bay of Fundy communities from East Aylesford to Middleton will join together for an annual bird count and identification initiative.