This year’s Christmas Bird Count will be held Dec. 16 in Greater Trail. Geri Coe photo

Join the annual Christmas Bird Count

Greater Trail count will be held Dec. 16

Amateur ornithologists, your annual challenge is just around the corner.

As Christmas approaches, another annual ritual is set to take place throughout the Western Hemisphere with the 118th edition of the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5, tens of thousands of bird and winter enthusiasts will rally together to count millions of birds across the continent as part of the 118th year of this long-running wildlife survey.

Each year, Bird Studies Canada and the National Audubon Society help coordinate and support the efforts of more than 2,500 counts throughout the Western Hemisphere. Christmas Bird Counts are run across Canada and the United States, as well as in Latin America, the Caribbean, and some Pacific Islands.

Locally, the region’s bird count will be held on Dec. 16.

The Trail region covers all the way from Walmart in Waneta to Tadanac; Warfield also includes Rivervale; Beaver Valley covers much of Area A.

If you want to take part, the first step is to contact a coordinator in your region.

Arnold By (250-368-3068) coordinates the Rivervale-Warfield area and compiles the numbers for the region. Shirley Coffin (250-364-0339) covers Trail, Don McNeill (250-367-6528) covers Beaver Valley and Linda Szymkowiak covers the Rossland area.

“I welcome anyone who wants to participate,” said Szymkowiak. “It’s anytime from dawn to dusk.

“If they note the species and count the number of that species. If they’re doing it at their feeder, then it is the greatest number of the species seen at one time. You don’t keep adding on.

“If you’re going for a walk, of course, it would be a cumulative because they are moving out of the area.

“If they are going for a walk, we need to know the area they walked, the distance and the amount of time they put in.”

By added it’s important to contact one of the coordinators so they can map out areas for counting.

“We don’t want double counts,” said By. “Those people would direct you to a place where nobody is counting.”

He added it’s important to have a handbook for bird watching to help identify the species.

As for the time commitment required for counting, that depends on a few factors, he said.

“It depends on the area and your enthusiasm,” said By.

“If it’s at a feeder, maybe an hour, but if you’re doing some walking it can take you longer. Again it depends on the enthusiasm of the people involved and how knowledgeable they are.”

Coffin said she’s always happy to get more volunteers and, if contacted, can help ensure there aren’t people doing the count in the same location. She added for those that can’t get out, they can do it from their own homes.

“They can also do a bird count at their feeders,” she added. “Then call me with the count.”

By acknowledged that people are more enthusiastic about the bird count in rural areas as opposed to the city.

“We have more trouble getting people in the cities, even in Warfield.”

Data collected during the counts include details on the number of birds of each species seen or heard within a local 24-km diameter circle. Surveying this circle year-after-year contributes valuable long-term information on how winter birds are faring, both in your locale and across the country.

Novice or experienced, the Christmas Bird Count is for everyone. Whether you like exploring forests, fields, and waters in search of lingering migrants, or prefer counting feeder birds from your window with a warm mug in hand, the Christmas Bird Count offers diverse opportunities for participation.

No matter how you contribute, all Christmas Bird Count observations are used to study the health of winter bird populations over time and guide conservation strategies to help birds and their habitats.

“Every Christmas Bird Count participant is an important part of this valuable project for birds,” says Liz Purves, Bird Studies Canada’s Christmas Bird Count Coordinator.

“Whether you participate for bird conservation, for some friendly birding competition, or for an excuse to get outside in the winter, your efforts are meaningful for birds.”

The skills and dedication of thousands of volunteer Citizen Scientists harnessed during the Christmas Bird Count achieve incredible results that professional scientists and wildlife biologists could never accomplish alone.

During last year’s count in Canada, over 3 million birds of 278 species were counted by 14,000 participants in 447 counts across the country. Counts were conducted across diverse habitat types in each of Canada’s provinces and territories – from coast to coast to coast!

The Christmas Bird Count took root over a century ago when 27 birders in 25 localities from Toronto, Ontario to Pacific Grove, California, led by ornithologist Frank Chapman, proposed a conservation-oriented alternative to the traditional ‘side hunt,’ a Christmas Day competition to hunt the most birds and small mammals.

This alternative initiative to identify, count, and record all the birds founded on Christmas Day 1900 has turned into one of North America’s longest-running wildlife monitoring programs.

For more information about the Christmas Bird Count, or to find the location of additional counts, visit Bird Studies Canada’s website at www.birdscanada.org/volunteer/cbc.

With files from Black Press

Just Posted

15 new mayors to take office across the Kootenays

Here’s a look at the highlights from across the Kootenay region in B.C.

Fruitvale father suffers serious burns

A father and son were injured working on a vehicle at their Fruitvale residence

The new mayor of Trail is …

Preliminary results after voting closed Saturday at 8 p.m., includes results from two advanced polls

Kootenay Boundary referendum, pass or fail?

Polls closed at 8 p.m. Saturday night

Fruitvale vehicle fire sends two to hospital

Greater Trail RCMP are investigating a vehicle fire on Highway 3B

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

Ovechkin has 4 points as Caps rough up Canucks 5-2

WATCH: Defending champs pick up impressive win in Vancouver

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Election watchdog seeks digitally savvy specialists to zero in on threats

Move follows troublesome evidence of online Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election

More court before Dutch man charged in Amanda Todd case is extradited here

Appeals must be dealt with in Europe, before charges faced in B.C.

Crown says man guilty of B.C. girl’s 1978 murder based on alleged confession

Jury hears details of girl’s 1978 murder while Crown says man should be convicted of girl’s murder based on alleged confession.

BCHL alumni has NHL jersey retired by Anaheim Ducks

Paul Kariya played with the Penticton Vees from 1990-1992

Most Read