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Christmas Bird Count

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By Michael Thompson, Whistler Naturalists

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) was started in the year 1900 as a replacement for the Christmas "Side Hunt". The count sounds like a much better idea! The CBC is generally accepted as the best, if not the only, tool available for assessing long-term trends in the early winter bird populations of North America. Each annual regional count is to occur on a day from Dec. 14 to Jan. 5 of the Christmas season, which ensures reasonable consistency among populations of resident, rather than migratory, birds.

Although founded in the U.S., Canada is an active participant. In fact, for 1999 the three communities with the most participants in North America were North Bay, Edmonton, and Victoria! Starting with this year's count, all Canadian results will be co-ordinated by Bird Studies Canada before being forwarded to the Audubon people.

In 1999 the 10th Whistler CBC, headed by Karl Ricker, set new records for number of species seen (62) and for total number of birds (5,243). In addition to sharp eyesight, we were assisted by mild, clear weather. This species record is to be compared with all-time high counts for British Columbia of 193 species and for Canada of 400 species. A high point of the Whistler count for 1999 was the sighting of all seven species of woodpecker!

The Whistler Naturalists Society CBC for 2000 will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 19. Karl is well advanced in planning his teams, leaders, and specific observation areas. However, more ears and eyeballs are needed for active duty between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the day, even for part of that time. Also required are feeder watchers who can contribute from the comfort of their homes. To lend support, please call Karl Ricker at 938-1107 or (604) 926-5933, or Michael Thompson at 932-5010. There will also be an "après-bird" get-together for a little nourishment and for reporting results.

The Christmas Bird Count is an opportunity for Whistler to make a worthwhile contribution to ornithological science.

Upcoming Events:

December 19 — Christmas Bird Count . Contact Michael Thompson (932-5010) for details.

Website of the Week: Did you know that last year’s Christmas Bird Count was the 100th annual? Or that 52,471 observers participated in 1,823 counts? For details about results, check out: http://birdsource.cornell.edu/cbc/.

Sightings and Memberships: NatureSpeak is prepared by the Whistler Naturalists. To become a member or to report noteworthy sightings of mammals, birds, or other species, contact Lee Edwards (905-6448; e-mail: leighe11@hotmail.com).

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