Avid birders and nature lovers in Carleton Place and surrounding areas will soon join citizen scientists throughout the Americas and participate in the 115th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). Participants are invited to take part in the Carleton Place CBC to be held this year on Saturday, December 27th. The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) will once again sponsor this bird count as well as the Lanark Highlands count. The count area for the Carleton Place CBC is a 24 km circle centered on the bridge over the Mississippi River in Carleton Place, and includes Almonte, Appleton and Ashton.
A red-breasted nuthatch, one of the species which may be seen during the Christmas Bird Counts being organized by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists. Photo by Susan Wilkes
Over 2,000 individual counts are scheduled to take place throughout the Americas and beyond between December 14, 2014 and January 5, 2015. The intense citizen science effort of Christmas bird counts began over a century ago when 27 conservationists changed the course of ornithological history. On Christmas Day in 1900, Frank Chapman (scientist, writer and a member of the budding Audubon Society) proposed that instead of the traditional hunt that they count all the birds they saw, founding a popular tradition and one that is now considered 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,” says Dick Cannings, Bird Studies Canada’s Christmas Bird Count Coordinator. “Bird Studies Canada and our partners at the National Audubon Society in the United States rely on data from the CBC database to monitor bird populations.”
Last year, during the 2013 Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count over 50 volunteers spent the day observing birds resulting in the recording of over 5200 birds and 44 different species. The first Carleton Place CBC took place in 1944.
Volunteers are essential to the success of the Christmas bird counts. You do not have 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 and everyone is welcome. You will need a pair of binoculars. As well residents with bird feeders within a count area can also help by listing all birds at your feeder or in your yard on the count day.
For more information or to register for the December 27th Carleton Place count, please contact Iain Wilkes at 613-257-1126 or . If you are interested in helping out by counting birds at home at your feeder please contact Georgina Doe at 613- 257-2103. At the end of the Carleton Place count day, field participants will return to the Community Room upstairs at Steve’s Independent in Carleton Place on McNeely Avenue for the count-in as well as refreshments.
Best of the Season to All!