Submitted by Andrew Tait of Helm Safety
June 7th wrapped up Leduc’s second annual spring bird count, with the successful tally of 3179 individual birds, comprising 107 species, several of which hold the status of species of concern, threatened, or endangered. When combined with the annual Christmas Bird Count, this citizen science initiative can begin to yield some interesting and useful data for international and local planners when it comes to habitat protection, land development, and other anthropogenic activity. Species at risk included the White Pelican, Western Grebe, Ferruginous Hawk, Piping Plover, and Olive-Sided Flycatcher.
Both count activities require a few more observers who can help round out data by assisting with tallies in the rural areas of Kavanagh, Rollyview and the Saunders and Coal Lake drainage. Not much is required as far as expertise...just a keen attitude to detail, a trusty bird guide, and a pair of field glasses.
Another facet of good observers is self-awareness of their own impact on the studied species (and wildlife in general). My first spring bird count was in Elk Island National Park in 1989. While canoeing with a survey partner on Astotin Lake, we quickly noticed that magpies were swooping in behind us to predate grebe nests as we passed a few metres away. We resorted to more remote means to gather data without further negative impact.
Persons interested in assisting with either bird counts can contact me anytime at email@example.com.