Volunteers sought for 47th annual event; you can also report sightings at the feeders in your yard if you don’t want to venture out
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 47th 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.
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, just the 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, contact Tom Feiro, Crookston’s compiler, for details on how to record your feeder activity.
The birders meet at RBJ’s Restaurant at 7 a.m. on Saturday for breakfast and to prepare the groups for the morning count, which starts at about 8 a.m. Hot soup will be served at the Feiro residence (817 Sampson Street) at noon to tally the morning count and plan for the rest of the day. There is no charge to participate.
Data collected is used to help biologists determine bird populations, movements and conservation needs.
2018 marks the 119th year of Christmas Bird Counts in North America. In 2017 the Crookston Christmas Bird Count recorded 29 different species and 1,431 individual birds. Each year the group strives to break the Crookston count records. Record counts were held in 2007 and 2012 when 35 species were recorded, and in 1986, a total of 3,600 individual birds were observed.
If you want more information or have an interest in helping with the count, contact Tom Feiro, volunteer compiler, at 281-5515 (home) or 218 521-0223 (cell).