MONTE VISTA — Interested birders of all skill levels are encouraged to participate in the 61st Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, Dec. 15. Bird enthusiasts will be among more than 43,000 volunteers participating nationwide in Annual Christmas Bird Counts.
This year marks the 119th anniversary since conservationists first carried out the bird counts on Christmas Day of 1900. The event originated as a protest to the traditional holiday in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds and animals in one day. Today, volunteers from all 50 states, every Canadian province, parts of Central and South America, Bermuda, the West Indies, and Pacific Islands count and record every individual bird and bird species encountered during one calendar day. More than 1,650 individual Christmas Bird Counts will be held during a two and a half week period. Each group has a designated circle 15 miles in diameter (about 177 square miles) where they try to cover as much ground as possible in a 24-hour period.
Apart from its attraction as a social, sporting, and competitive event, the annual count provides scientists and environmentalists with valuable information on the early winter distribution patterns of various bird species and overall health of the environment.
Those interested in participating please email Lisa Clements at [email protected] or plan to meet at the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge office Saturday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 a.m. The refuge office is located 6.5 miles south of Monte Vista on Highway 15.
Participants can work as few or as many hours as they like. Also, if you live within the count circle and have a bird feeder, you can participate at home by counting birds at your feeder on count day. Owlers are encouraged to participate! Participants should plan on bringing warm clothing, a sack lunch, and binoculars if you have them.
This year, we will be counting birds seen in the Count Week. This count is separate from the Count Day, but is useful for the records keeping by the National Audubon Society, which collects the information we gather. Count week is three days before the count day and three days after the official count day (Dec 12-Dec 18).
For further information contact Lisa Clements at [email protected] .