Despite a diminishing tally of winter migrants in recent years, the 28th Brome Lake Christmas Bird Count is planned for Saturday, December 16. This event is a small part of the multi-national 118th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Bird Studies Canada manages the data from each Canadian count.
Taking place in early winter on a locally-selected date between December 14 and January 5, CBCs now extend 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 in the last two years, with participation 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 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further information.
And please fill your bird feeders as early as possible before the count!