Eyes in the sky

Annapolis Valley Register - - COVER STORY - BY ASH­LEY THOMP­SON KINGSCOUNT­YNEWS.CA

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.

SUB­MIT­TED

Count­less types of birds are ex­pected to be spot­ted dur­ing the an­nual Kingston Bird Count.

SUB­MIT­TED

Bird watch­ers in Bay of Fundy com­mu­ni­ties from East Ayles­ford to Mid­dle­ton will join to­gether for an an­nual bird count and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion ini­tia­tive.

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