Since the Christmas Bird Counts began over a century ago, they has relied on the dedication and commitment of volunteers. If you are a beginning birder, you will be able to join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher. It is a great opportunity to socialize with other bird enthusiasts. Stewart Wilson photo

Join the Christmas Bird Count

Around Cranbrook and Kimberley, birders expect to see 40-50 species, up to 2,000 birds

Daryl Calder

You can contribute to 120 years of community science by signing up for a count nearby.

It’s like a little treasure hunt, and if the birds are rare and unusual, it can be quite exciting.

Since the “CBC” began over a century ago, it has relied on the dedication and commitment of volunteers like you.

If you are a beginning birder, you will be able to join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher. It is a great opportunity to socialize with other bird enthusiasts.

Each team of four needs a driver, recorder, spotters and someone who can leaf through a bird guidebook to check the accuracy of each particular sighting.

We tend to drive short distances, hop out to look and listen, and take short walks. Sometimes large flocks of birds are seen; several ‘counter/estimators’ are helpful to provide accurate information. A photographer is very helpful too.

The CBC is an early winter bird census where thousands of volunteers go out to count birds. Counts occur in over 2,000 localities throughout the Western Hemisphere. Counts are organized at the local level, often by a naturalist organization, and co-ordinated in Canada by Bird Studies Canada.

Count volunteers stay within a designated 24 km diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear on count day. The data collected by CBC participants over the past 120 years, have become 1 of only 2 large pools of information indicating how the birds of the Americas are faring over time.

Around Cranbrook and Kimberley, we can expect to observe approximately 40 to 50 species, and perhaps 1,500 to 2,000 birds. We hope for a cool, calm, bright day, some open water, and clean, well-stocked feeders. A regular group of naturalists heads out every Wednesday morning; you are welcome to join us as we endeavour to become familiar with local birds and their preferred habitats.

If your home is within the boundaries of a CBC circle, you can stay at home and report the birds that visit your feeder on count day. Prior arrangements with the count compiler must be made in advance.

To participate in the count, or to become a ‘feeder watcher’, please go to the Rocky Mountain Naturalist Christmas Bird Count page of our website rockymountainnaturalists.org . Here you will find contact information, important details and reports from recent years. The ‘field work’ is often followed by a pot luck and ‘count up’.

Dates to note:

Creston: December 27, Friday

Cranbrook: December 28, Saturday

Kimberley: January 4, Saturday

Submitted by Daryl Calder, on behalf of Rocky Mountain Naturalists

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