By Tom Moore

Saturday, December 14 will be the date of the 30th Brome Lake Christmas bird count and 2019-20 marks the 120th Audubon sponsored international Christmas bird count.

From mid December to early January, volunteers from across Canada, the U.S., parts of Central and South America, and the West Indies will count and record each individual bird species encountered within one calendar day. Each of more than 2500 count groups will survey a designated 15 mile diameter circle (177 square miles!) for one day and report their findings to the U.S. National Audubon Society. In Canada the organization is handled by Bird Studies Canada who forward the Canadian count data to the Audubon Society from more than 14,000 volunteers in 463 count groups.

Apart from its attraction as a social and recreational activity, the annual count reveals interesting and scientifically useful information on the early winter distribution patterns of various bird species and the overall health of the environment.

The count activities are open to bird enthusiasts of all skill levels. There are three options for participants:

• spend the day in the field with a group covering a preset quadrant of the count circle, by car or on foot;

• survey your own property and surrounding area on foot, skis, etc.;

• report on birds observed at your feeder (no need to even venture outdoors!)

Despite the apparent scarcity of small birds in this area in recent weeks, the “citizen science” data from the many hundreds of CBC’s across the continent is valuable to ornithologists in quantifying the state of the migrating bird population and an indicator of the impact of environmental and habitat changes.

Anyone interested in participating in this year’s count can call 514-946-2445 or email thomasw.moore@yahoo.ca for further information.