by Sue Deyoe ~ December 29th, 2010
TRAPPER CREEK – submitted by Rick Ernst. The Trapper Creek-Talkeetna Christmas Bird Count will be held this Sunday, January 2. There are over 60,000 volunteers participating nationwide in the annual National Auduon Society Bird Count.
This year marks the 111th anniversary of the count. Conservationists decided to protest the traditional bird shoot on Christmas Day 1900. The ‘side hunt’ was a traditional event where teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds and animals in one day.
Now, volunteers from all 50 states, Canada, parts of Central and South America, Antarctica, Bermuda, the West Indies and Pacific Islands count and record every individual bird and species encountered during one calendar day between December 14 and January 2.
Each count group has a designated circle 15 miles in diameter, about 177 square miles, where they try and cover as much ground as possible. The data collected by each count group is sent to the National Audubon Society headquarters in New York City. Count data is published in a special book sized edition of their Field Notes magazine.
The Christmas Bird Count is the longest running ornithological database. As the 111th count year approaches, it continues to grow in importance as a means to monitor the status of resident and migratory bird populations across the western hemisphere. The count is 100% volunteer generated data, that over the years, has become a crucial part of the National Biological Services database.
All counts are open to birders of all skill levels. For more information about the local count, call Rick Ernst 733-2721 or 315-0673.