Tom Moore

Despite a diminishing tally of winter migrants in recent years, the 27th Brome Lake Christmas Bird Count is planned for Saturday December 17th. This event is a small part of the multi-national 117th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Bird Studies Canada manages the data from each Canadian count.

The birds are counted in early winter between December 14th and January 5th. Local areas pick the exact date. The Christmas bird count now extends from Alaska and the Northwest Territories all the way to central America and the Caribbean. Participation in this event is impressive: in last year’s count more than 60,000 people took part in nearly 2,500 Christmas Bird Counts, including more than 400 in Canada. Canadian count circles have steadily increased with participation now topping 12,000 volunteers.

Definition: a count circle is a 15 mile diameter area (177 square miles!) whose location is precisely defined and registered with the Audubon Society/Cornell University. The intent of the Christmas Bird Count is to provide a “snapshot” of the bird population in the defined area during the migration period.

Apart from its attraction as a recreational activity, the annual count reveals interesting and scientifically useful information on the early winter distribution patterns and numbers of  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, mostly by automobile;

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

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

Reports of bird counts by participants can be submitted by email or telephone in the week following the count day.

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