Rydell and Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) will be hosting their 5th Annual Christmas Bird Count on Thursday, December 19th. This event is administered by the National Audubon Society and is the longest running citizen science bird project in the U.S. This year marks the 120th year of the Christmas Bird Count.

    Counts are held in designated areas throughout the U.S. between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5 each year. Last year, counts were completed in over 2,500 locations, including Canada and Latin America. Over 76,600 people participated in the counts and almost 59 million birds were tallied!

    Information from the count provides important information on winter ranges of birds, population trends, and how a changing climate alters winter bird distribution.

    Birds observed in the Rydell/Glacial Ridge Count Circle over the past four years have included 40 different species, including northern shrikes, Bohemian waxwings, bald eagles, pileated and red-bellied woodpeckers, Harris’ sparrows, and Lapland longspurs

    People interested in participating do not need to be experienced birders. This event can serve as a learning experience for new birders and those individuals will be paired up with Refuge staff or more experienced volunteers. Participants should meet at the Rydell NWR Visitor Center at 8:00am for coffee and a brief meeting. Bring binoculars and a bird book if you have them. If not, we’ll have some on hand for visitor use. Counting will take place within a 15-mile diameter circle that stretches from Erskine west to the center of Glacial Ridge NWR. Participants can count from a vehicle or on foot, depending on their preference and the weather conditions that day. Refuge staff will host a potluck lunch back at the Visitor Center at noon. After a hearty lunch, folks can “call it a day”, or can go back out and continue to search for birds.

    Please RSVP no later than December 17th to Ben at 218-687-2229 x12 or
benjamin_walker@fws.gov. If you have questions or need more information on the count, call Ben Walker at 218-687-2229 x12.