Bird Lovers Unite!

 

Do you always have an eye on the sky? Do tiny tweets and chirps make your heart sing? Are you truly friendly with all our little feathered friends? If so, then Andy Tait has a project that will make your heart take flight! 
Andy is putting together the first ever Leduc and area Christmas Bird Count, and he is looking for interested bird watchers and ornithologists to take part.
The Christmas Bird Count (CBC), begun by the Audubon Society over 100 years ago, is the longest running Citizen Science Survey in the world. It takes place all over the world within one chosen 24 hour period between December 14 to January 5. As of 2012, over 60,000 people in 20 countries have taken part in the CBC, counting over 64,900,000 birds and more than 2,400 species.
Andy has been involved with bird counts since the 1980's but decided to start one up in Leduc just this year. The Leduc count will take place from midnight to midnight on December 16th, 2012.
"I am hoping this will turn into an annual event." said Andy, "Scientists and biologists love the data that gets collected on these counts, and they are very important to track which species are located in certain areas, migratory pattern changes, and the possible influences of climate change."
A circle, fifteen miles in diameter, has been drawn around Leduc where the count will take place, and includes the City of Leduc, Kavanaugh, Saunders Lake, Nisku, Beaumont and all places in between. So anyone living within this diameter is encouraged to get a CBC Tally Sheet from Andy and mark down any and all information they gather on December 16th. 
The sheets are preprinted with many different bird species typically found in this area, such as Snowy Owls, Black Billed Magpies, Black Capped Chickadees, Cedar Waxwings and Pileated Woodpeckers. There are places on the sheets to fill in weather information, temperature, snow cover, location, times, and the manner that the information was gathered, ie; while watching a feeder, walking, or driving, etc. There is also room on the sheets to write comments or mark down any unusual species that are sighted or interesting happenings within the local bird community.  
Birds can be counted either by being viewed, or by hearing and recognizing their song. All the data collected has to be submitted back to Andy, and he will send it off to the Audubon Society once it has all been gathered together in the new year. 
The 15 mile count circle is divided into eight different areas, and species will be tracked within these divisions. As the count continues from year to year Andy is planning on placing division leaders in each area, as well as, at some time in the future, hoping to inspire Millet and Wetaskiwin to institute a count of their own.
More information about the CBC can be found at www.christmasbirdcount.org, and anyone who is interested in taking part in the Leduc Christmas Bird Count can contact Andy at 780-980-0858, or email him at andytait@shaw.ca.
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