By Tom Moore

Saturday December 15 will be the date of the 29th Brome Lake Christmas bird count and 2018-19 marks the 119th 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 14000 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 present 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!)

Naturalists are predicting a more active year than usual for winter finches, grosbeaks and redpolls, so please try and fill your feeders well before the count date, Saturday, December 15th.

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