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Birders to participate in the 120th Christmas Bird Count

Another Christmas Bird Count season is around the corner.
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 120th year of this long-running wildlife survey.
There are four Christmas Bird Counts planned in the Fort Macleod region:
• Saturday, Dec. 14 at Lethbridge. Contact Ken Orich at 403-381-2351 or korich@telusplanet.net.
• Sunday, Dec. 15 at Waterton. Contact Dianne Pachal at 403-859-5133.
• Wednesday, Jan 1 at Mil River. Contact Ken Orich at 403-381-2351 or korich@telusplanet.net.
• Thursday, Jan. 2 at Crowsnest Pass. Contact Merilyn Liddell at 403-563-7545.
Each year, Birds Canada and the National Audubon Society help co-ordinate 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.
Data collected include details on the number of birds of each species seen or heard within a local 24-kilometre diameter circle.
Surveying this circle year after year contributes valuable long-term information on how winter birds are faring locally and across the country.
Novice or experienced, the Christmas Bird Count is for everyone.
“Every Christmas Bird Count participant is an important part of this valuable project for birds,” said Yousif Attia, Birds Canada’s Christmas Bird Count co-ordinator.
“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 Christmas Bird Count took root over a century ago when 27 birders in 25 localities from Toronto 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 found 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 Birds Canada’s Web site at birdscanada.org/volunteer/cbc.

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