Thousands of individuals are taking part in Audubon Christmas Bird counts throughout the Americas and beyond, between December 14, 2015, and January 5, 2016. The Annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is the Audubon Society’s longest-running wintertime tradition, beginning Christmas Day in 1900. On that day, a conservation minded ornithologist, Frank Chapman, proposed a “Christmas Bird Census” (instead of a hunt) to identify, count, and record as many birds as they could. Thus was founded what is now considered to be the world’s most significant citizen-based conservation effort. “Each CBC volunteer observer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation.” Bird Studies Canada and partners at the National Audubon Society in the United States rely on data from the CBC database to monitor bird populations.
The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists sponsors three local Christmas Bird Counts, the Carleton Place CBC (December 27), the Lanark Highlands CBC (December 30), and, new this year, the Rideau Ferry CBC (which took place on December 19). Details are included here, or visit mvfn.ca. Volunteers are essential to the success of the Christmas bird census activities. You do not need to be an expert but it helps to be familiar with local bird species. In any case, participants in the field counts will be placed in a team led by an experienced birder; everyone is welcome. You will need a pair of binoculars. As well, residents with bird feeders within a count area can help by listing all birds at your feeder or in your yard on the count day.
Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count
Date: Sunday, December 27. The count area is a 24 km circle centered on the bridge over the Mississippi River in Carleton Place, and includes Almonte, Appleton and Ashton. For more information or to register, contact Iain Wilkes at email@example.com or 613-250-0722. If you are interested in helping out by counting birds at your feeder/yard, please register with Georgina Doe at 613-257-2103. At the end of the Carleton Place count day, field participants return to the Community Room upstairs at Mitchell’s Independent in Carleton Place on McNeely Avenue for the count-in as well as refreshments.
Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count
Date: Wednesday, December 30. The count circle includes Brightside to the north, Middleville to the east, most of Dalhousie Lake to the west, and south to within a km of Balderson. For information or to register for count teams, please contact Marilyn Barnett, preferably at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 613-259-2269.To register for the Feeder Counts, please contact Marjorie Montgomery before Christmas at email@example.com or, if necessary, by telephone at 613-259-3078.