A North American bird-watching event will be marked and observed in the Leduc area in 2015.
The over-100 year-old annual Christmas Bird County will be held on one day in December, plus a special week set aside for the same activity.
According to the City of Leduc, “The Christmas Bird Count will be held Dec. 13. Participants are also encouraged to note bird sightings throughout Leduc Bird Count Week, Dec. 10 to 16. Bird count information is important! The data collected during Christmas Bird Counts tells us how the birds are doing and what their navigation, migration patterns and species counts are and helps in the creation of future conservation strategies.”
Bird count data must be collected and handled carefully to ensure it’s accurate. Hence, the City of Leduc has some instructions on their website (www.leduc.ca) for bird-watchers to record their observations and submit them properly:
1) Download your tally sheet (PDF) and check the information to help you identify birds.
2) Residents are only required to participate for a minimum of 30 minutes and can watch birds from anywhere in the Leduc, Beaumont or the Kavanagh region. A map is available on the city website to view the Leduc bird count area of coverage. Hint: Bird counting gives you a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, but you can still participate in the count by watching for birds from your front window or back deck.
3) Fill out your tally sheet as you identify birds. Return your completed sheet no later than Sunday, December 27, 2015 to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to #1 Alexandra Park, Leduc, AB T9E 4C4.
Bird counts are also being conducted in the surrounding counties and in Wetaskiwin. According to the City of Leduc, for residents of Calmar, Devon and Warburg, there is a bird count taking place in your area as well. Information is available on the City of Leduc website. Please contact Doug Macaulay at email@example.com to participate in this event.
The city noted residents of Millet and Wetaskiwin can also participate in a Christmas bird count in their region. Please click here to view the bird count area and contact Andy Tait at 780-980-0858 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to participate.
The National Audubon Society sponsors the annual bird count and has some great resources on its website for bird-counters (www.audobon.org). The society offered this history of the bird count:
“Prior to the turn of the 20th century, people engaged in a holiday tradition known as the Christmas “Side Hunt”: They would choose sides and go afield with their guns; whoever brought in the biggest pile of feathered (and furred) quarry won.
“Conservation was in its beginning stages around in that era, and many observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. Beginning on Christmas Day 1900, ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, an early officer in the then nascent Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition-a “Christmas Bird Census”-that would count birds during the holidays rather than hunt them.
“So began the Christmas Bird Count. Thanks to the inspiration of Chapman and the enthusiasm of twenty-seven dedicated birders, twenty-five Christmas Bird Counts were held that day. The locations ranged from Toronto, Ontario to Pacific Grove, California with most counts in or near the population centers of northeastern North America. Those original 27 Christmas Bird Counters tallied around 90 species on all the counts combined.”
According to the society, a record total of 460 counts were submitted in Canada this year, 22 more than last year, including Millet-Wetaskiwin for the first time. Audubon also stated the total number of birds in the Canadian count bounced back to 3.5 million and the species total climbed to a record high of 305 from last year’s 291.