The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Carol Griswold
For The LOG 

Bird count planned

 


Fill your feeders with black oil sunflower seeds and hang up the suet. It’s time to get ready for the annual Seward Christmas Bird Count. All across the country, volunteers gather information about bird populations, movements and trends.

This year’s CBC will be Saturday, Jan. 2. Field Counters will meet at 9 a.m. at Rez Art, 320 Third, to confirm their area and team assignments. Be prepared to walk and drive with the car windows open. Dress for the weathe, and bring more layers in case. Bring lunch, snacks and beverages for a full day outside. Binoculars, spotting scope, smart phone, camera and bird book are helpful. A great attitude is the best tool.

Data sheets will be submitted and “best bird” stories shared from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Rez Art. Feeder watchers are welcome to attend or to email their results.

Count Week is Dec. 30 through Jan. 1, and Jan. 3 through 5. During Count Week, only the kind of bird is noted, not the numbers. If you hear owls or see any unusual birds, keep track. You do not have to be a Count Day participant to share your Count Week birds.

Contact CBC Compiler Carol Griswold at c_grizATyahoo.com for information and to register either as a field counter or as a feeder watcher.

First organized in the Lower 48 and eastern Canada with just 27 birdwatchers in 1900, this season marks the 116th Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count. In Alaska, volunteers have carried out Christmas Bird Counts since before statehood, with the first counts in 1941 in Anchorage and Mountain Village.

Volunteers have 24 hours to record as many birds as possible within a 15-mile diameter circle. It’s important to stay within the circle so that data can be compared between years. There are Christmas Bird Counts in all 50 states, in all Canadian provinces, several Central and South American countries, and several Pacific and Caribbean islands. Last year there were a record 39 counts held across Alaska.

“The Christmas Bird Count is a great way for volunteers of any age, from kids to grandparents, to participate together in one of the longest running citizen-science projects in the world,” said Nils Warnock, Executive Director of Audubon Alaska. “With more than a century of data nationwide and 70 years in Alaska, this is a powerful tool that helps scientists look for changes in Alaska’s bird populations and ranges.”

There are more birds, and bird watchers, than one might expect in Alaska in the winter. On a record 39 counts across the state last year for the 115th count, relatively mild weather helped 901 observers tie the previous record of 152 species, counting 163,061 individual birds. Kodiak, with 81 species observed, renewed its title of most species on an Alaska count. Anchorage, with 110 observers, had the highest number of participants in the state, once again making the elite list of about 80 Christmas Bird Counts in the hemisphere with 100 or more participants. Anchorage observers counted 16,009 individual birds, the highest number for the state that season.

Information about the Christmas Bird Count is online at http://www.audubon.org/conservation/join-christmas-bird-count.

 

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