Christmas Bird Count on Dec. 16 this year

Event helps scientists keep track of bird numbers

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

It might not be quite correct to call an event with around 20 participants ‘popular.’ But the annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) sure is a lot of fun for those who take part.

“We look forward to going out every year and doing it” says Wayne Bowles, who has been strapping on his binoculars for the CBC for the past 20 years or more. “Sometimes we see something that surprises us. It’s a nice day in the bush.”

This year’s count takes place on Sunday, Dec. 16. As always, it begins with a gathering for breakfast – at the Sawridge Travel Centre. Then counters are assigned segments of a 10-kilometre circle and off they go.

The idea behind the count is to provide winter bird figures to the Audubon Society. It helps scientists develop a picture of trends in population. Christmas counts have been going on for over 100 years, in hundreds of communities around the continent.

“Don’t worry if you aren’t a hard core birder,” says organizer Patti Campsall, of the Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory. “We can pair you up with someone with more birding expertise, plus as long as you can identify ravens, magpies, and chickadees, you will be fine!”

Campsall would like to have an idea beforehand of how many might show up. She can be reached at 780-849-8240.

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