Bird count back for 31st year

There are some slight modifications to the bird count to accomodate for COVID-19

Jake Jeannotte, age six, holds a Whisky Jack – another name for Gray Jay, Canada Jay or Camp Robber – a common bird that can be seen on the bird count. 

Jake Jeannotte, age six, holds a Whisky Jack – another name for Gray Jay, Canada Jay or Camp Robber – a common bird that can be seen on the bird count. (Contributed)

Golden’s Christmas bird count is back for a 31st year in need of bird watchers and volunteer participants for the count that is set to occur on Dec. 27.

The bird watch, which is a community science project, provides crucial data on Golden’s native bird populations during the winter months and helps demonstrate how North America’s bird populations change over time.

The bird count provides long-term perspective, which is vital for conservationists, according to the event organizers.

The count informs strategies to protect birds and their habitat and helps identify environmental issues, which can have implications for people as well.

This year, organizers anticipate that the continent-wide bird count will mobilize nearly 80,000 volunteer bird counters in more than 2,600 locations across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America to track the health of bird populations at a scale that scientists could never accomplish alone.

Golden joined the bird count through the efforts of the late Ellen Zimmerman and has since been participating in the Christmas Bird Count for 30 years.

The count is open to birders of all ages and skill levels. Participants are required to sign up for a route.

Those who have done the count before can request the same route or a route they are familiar with.

All of the routes are located within the Golden count circle, which stretches up to the Blaeberry and down to Nicholson.

At the end of the 24-hour period, participants submit their list of species, numbers and how long they spent watching the compilers.

Participants may choose to monitor individual bird feeders instead of following routes.

Setting up a bird feeder in your yard is a great way to observe many species more closely, according to organizers.

They recommend keeping feeders up in Golden only during the winter to avoid attracting bears. Feeders should be placed in a high location and any remaining seed scattered on the ground should be cleaned in the spring.

This year, volunteers will have to stick to their social bubble so to keep safe.

Audubon’s free Bird Guide app is one of the many resources available to help with bird ID for the count.

Volunteer compilers Joan Dolinsky and Annette Luttermann will coordinate the process in Golden.

To sign up for the count in Golden, please contact Joan Dolinsky

A new feature for this year’s count will be “CBC LIVE” a crowd-sourced, hemisphere-wide storytelling function using Esri mapping software. This “story-map” will ask users to upload a photo taken during their Christmas Bird Count as well as a short anecdote to paint a global picture of the Christmas Bird Count in real time.

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