Bird­watch­ers come to­gether in Leth­bridge to par­tic­i­pate in the 119th Christ­mas Bird Count

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Alberta -

An­other Christ­mas Bird Count sea­son is around the cor­ner! Be­tween Dec. 14 and Jan. 5, tens of thou­sands of bird and win­ter en­thu­si­asts will rally to­gether to count mil­lions of birds across the con­ti­nent as part of the 119th year of this long-run­ning wildlife sur­vey.

On Sun­day, Dec. 16 par­tic­i­pants in Leth­bridge will take part in this fun win­ter tra­di­tion, many ris­ing be­fore dawn and count­ing birds un­til sun­set!

Each year, Bird Stud­ies Canada and the Na­tional Audubon So­ci­ety help co­or­di­nate and sup­port the ef­forts of more than 2,500 counts through­out the West­ern Hemi­sphere.

Christ­mas Bird Counts are run across Canada and the United States, as well as in Latin Amer­ica, the Caribbean, and some Pa­cific Is­lands. Data col­lected dur­ing the Leth­bridge count in­clude de­tails on the num­ber of birds of each species seen or heard within a lo­cal 24-km di­am­e­ter cir­cle. Sur­vey­ing this cir­cle year after year con­trib­utes valu­able long-term in­for­ma­tion on how win­ter birds are far­ing, both in your lo­cale and across the coun­try.

Novice or ex­pe­ri­enced, the Christ­mas Bird Count is for ev­ery­one. Whether you like ex­plor­ing forests, fields, and wa­ters in search of lin­ger­ing mi­grants, or pre­fer count­ing feeder birds from your win­dow with a warm mug in hand, the Christ­mas Bird Count of­fers di­verse op­por­tu­ni­ties for par­tic­i­pa­tion. No mat­ter how you con­trib­ute, all Christ­mas Bird Count ob­ser­va­tions are used to study the health of win­ter bird pop­u­la­tions over time and guide con­ser­va­tion strate­gies to help birds and their habi­tats.

“Ev­ery Christ­mas Bird Count par­tic­i­pant is an im­por­tant part of this valu­able project for birds,” says Liz Purves, Bird Stud­ies Canada’s Christ­mas Bird Count Co­or­di­na­tor. “Whether you par­tic­i­pate for bird con­ser­va­tion, for some friendly bird­ing com­pe­ti­tion, or for an ex­cuse to get out­side in the win­ter, your ef­forts are mean­ing­ful for birds.”

Dur­ing last year’s count in Canada, 2.8 mil­lion birds of 287 species were counted by over 14,000 par­tic­i­pants in 463 counts across the coun­try. Counts were con­ducted across di­verse habi­tat types in each of Canada’s prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries – from coast to coast to coast!

The Christ­mas Bird Count took root over a cen­tury ago when 27 bird­ers in 25 lo­cal­i­ties from Toronto, On­tario to Pa­cific Grove, Cal­i­for­nia, led by or­nithol­o­gist Frank Chap­man, pro­posed a con­ser­va­tion-ori­ented al­ter­na­tive to the tra­di­tional ‘side hunt,’ a Christ­mas Day com­pe­ti­tion to hunt the most birds and small mam­mals. This al­ter­na­tive ini­tia­tive to iden­tify, count, and record all the birds found on Christ­mas Day 1900 has turned into one of North Amer­ica’s long­est-run­ning wildlife mon­i­tor­ing pro­grams.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the Christ­mas Bird Count, or to find the lo­ca­tion of ad­di­tional counts, visit Bird Stud­ies Canada’s web­site at bird­scanada.org/ vol­un­teer/cbc.

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