Outdoors

Citizen Science

Join the Christmas Bird Count

Attend

What: Christmas Bird Count with Wild Whatcom and the North Cascades Audubon Society

When: 8 am Sat., Dec. 30

Where: Lake Padden

Cost: $15 per family (signup deadline is Wed., Dec. 27)

Info: http://www.wildwhatcom.org or www.northcascadesaudubon.org

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

For the past 118 years, citizen scientists from throughout the Western Hemisphere have acted as detectives on behalf of the natural world as part of the annual Christmas Bird Count, taking notes on their winged “suspects” and reporting back to the powers that be at the National Audubon Society and beyond.

From Dec. 14 to Jan. 5, a variety of counts take place in established 15-mile-wide circles. Volunteers within that circle follow specified routes, keeping track of each and every bird they see (or hear) all day. Beyond being a species tally, all birds are counted, which gives an indication of the total number of flyers in the circle during that particular time frame. And if you live within the boundaries of the circle—and check in with the count compiler to get the go-ahead—you can count the birds visiting your feeder from the comfort of home.

For more than 50 years, residents of Whatcom County have joined thousands of volunteers in the United States, Canada, and a number of other countries to take part in the global data-collection event. Not only is it an ecologically important way to keep track of how the birds of the Americas are faring over time, but it is also a way to make participants more aware of the natural world and every creature’s place in it.  

In addition to upcoming counts in the San Juan Islands, Skagit Bay, Padilla Bay, Port Gamble, Whidbey Island, Vancouver B.C., White Rock, and beyond, Wild Whatcom is teaming up with the North Cascades Audubon Society for a Sat., Dec. 30 Holiday Family Bird Count at Lake Padden.

The new event does double duty. Not only can kids ages 7 and older join their adult counterparts to help keep track of what they see, they can also learn a whole lot more about the birds that winter in Whatcom County.

The day will begin at the Cedar Grove Clubhouse on Bullard Lake with indoor, interactive learning activities about the birds that might be seen. Next, everyone will bundle up, grab their binoculars and make their way one mile across the road to Lake Padden to count birds for a couple of hours. Back at the clubhouse, data will be compiled, sack lunches will be consumed and the findings of the morning and early afternoon will be celebrated. 

Registration fees for the unique event will go to local conservation efforts, and participants are urged to sign up early to do their part for science—something that, thanks to recent political dictates, is becoming more important by the day.

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