41st annual Crookston Christmas Bird Count
Submitted by Tom Feiro, Volunteer Compiler
One day is set aside each Christmas season between December 14 and January 5 when local volunteers gather to count wintering birds in designated locations all over North America. Saturday, December 15 is the date set for the 41st annual Crookston Christmas Bird Count. The volunteers spend the day covering a 15 mile diameter circle from Crookston east and south trying to find as many species of birds as they can during the daylight hours.
Last year, 9 volunteers counted 981 birds representing 28 different species. This year organizers hope to improve on the number of birds recorded.
You don’t have to be an expert to participate because the volunteers will be divided into groups with experienced birders to cover different portions of the circle. The rural areas are covered in the morning and early afternoon, and then they move to the city of Crookston to finish the day. Volunteers can assist for the full day, morning or afternoon. Bird feeders are an important part of the count, too. If you would like to report sightings at your feeder or have the volunteers stop by, please contact Tom Feiro, Crookston’s organizer for details of how to record your feeder activity.
The birders meet at RBJ’s Restaurant at 7:00 am on Saturday the 15th for breakfast and prepare the groups for the morning. They gather for lunch at Arby’s at noon to compare sightings and divide Crookston for the afternoon count. There is no charge to participate.
Data collected is used to help biologists determine bird populations, movements and conservation needs. 2012 marks the 113th year of Christmas Bird Counts in North America.
If you want more information or have an interest in helping with the count, please contact Tom Feiro, volunteer compiler, at 281-5515 (home) or 281-8300 (work).
Agassiz Audubon hosts Warren-area count
Submitted by Heidi Hughes, Agassiz Audubon Society
It started back in 1970, when a handful of intrepid birdwatchers ventured-out over the holidays to help Agassiz Audubon Society count birds in a 15-mile radius of Warren for the annual Christmas Bird Count (the CBC).
Over the years, more than 300 people have participated in the Warren CBC, counting a total of nearly 39,000 birds (of 32 species) with the temperature ranging from -30 to +32 F.
Agassiz Audubon has announced they’re going out to count again on Saturday, December 15, 2013. They’re inviting everyone – regardless of skill and experience – to join them.
You don’t have to be an expert at bird identification to participate. In fact, you don’t have to know anything about birds. This year’s adventure is open to anyone and everyone – regardless of skill level - from the “just curious” beginner to the expert birdwatcher. Not to worry – the count accuracy is assured by having new participants join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher.
Page 2 of 2 - Thanks to a grant from the Warren Community Fund and support from Cabela’s in East Grand Forks, you don’t even have to bring binoculars. Agassiz Audubon will have binoculars to loan participants for the “count day.”
Here’s how the CBC works: Volunteer bird-counters follow specified routes through a designated circle – by car or on foot, on skis or snowshoes, or even from the comfort of their homes.
“We’re looking for people who want to learn more about birds - and are willing to keep records of what they see at backyard bird feeding stations,” says Heidi Hughes, this year’s “count compiler.” For more information, call 218-745-5663 or send an email to AgassizAudubon@gmail.com.
Why count birds at Christmas time?
Scientists rely on the CBC data to better understand how birds are faring in North America and beyond our borders.
“Everyone who takes part in the Christmas Bird Count plays a critical role in helping us focus attention and conservation where it is most needed,” says Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count Director, Geoff LeBaron. “In addition to Audubon’s reports on Common Birds in Decline, the CBC is the foundation for Audubon’s WatchList, which identifies species in dire need of conservation help.”
Highlights of last year’s Warren CBC included: 1 Bald Eagle, 10 Rough-legged Hawks and 475 Snow Buntings.