Community Papers

Get ready for the annual bird count

It
It's time again for the annual Christmas Bird Count. Pictured - the Pine Grosbeak
— image credit: Photo submitted

 

The annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) – the longest-running Citizen Science survey in the world – will take place from December 14, 2013 to January 5, 2014.  Cranbrook, Kimberley, Elkford and Fernie naturalists will join tens of thousands of volunteers throughout North America braving winter weather to add a new layer to over a century of data.  Individual Christmas Bird Counts occupying a single calendar day.

For many years, the Christmas Bird Count was organized at the continental scale by the National Audubon Society.  Since 2000, Bird Studies Canada has partnered with Audubon to coordinate counts in Canada.  Scientists rely on the remarkable trend data of the CBC to better understand how birds and the environment are faring throughout North America – and what needs to be done to protect them.  CBC results are at the heart of numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies.

“Each CBC volunteer observer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation,” says Dick Cannings, Bird Studies Canada’s Christmas Bird Count Coordinator.

The Christmas Bird Count began over a century ago when 27 conservationists in 25 localities, led by scientist and writer Frank Chapman, changed the course of ornithological history.  On Christmas Day in 1900, the small group suggested an alternative to the “side hunt,” in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most game, including birds.  Instead, Chapman proposed that they identify, count, and record all the birds they saw.  Now Binocular Brigades often brave winter’s chill, ice, and snow to record changes in resident populations before spring migrants return.

Counts are often family or community traditions that make for fascinating stories.  Accuracy is assured by having new participants join an established group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher.  Count volunteers follow specified routes through a designated 24-km diameter circle, or can arrange in advance to count the birds at home feeders inside the circle and submit the results to a designated compiler.

For more information about CBC participation and watching your feeders (please fill your feeders) in the East Kootenays please contact:

Fernie – Saturday, December 14 – Kevin Knight– 250 423-6562.

Cranbrook – Saturday, December 28 – Greg Ross – 250 489-2566.

Elkford  – Sunday, December 29  – Ulrike Sliworsky  – 250-865-7744.

Kimberley – Saturday, January 4 – Dianne Cooper – 250-427-1921.

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