Organizers of this year’s annual bird count in Langley, Surrey and White Rock are looking forward to operating without pandemic restrictions.
“It’s going to be back to normal,” said Langley photographer John Gordon.
Anyone who is interested in taking part in tomorrow’s (Dec. 29) count can just show up at the McDonald’s restaurant at Fraser Highway and 216th Street at 7:30 a.m.
Proper wet and cold weather gear, especially winter boots with good traction, are essential, but previous experience is not.
Novices will be paired up with long-time counters like Gordon, who said another plus will be the ability, once again, to resume ride-sharing to different counting area, rather than having to coordinate multiple vehicles in order to observe social distancing requirements.
“We like to carpool,” Gordon explained, ” because we are environmentally sensitive.”
Anyone who wants to wear masks is welcome to, but they are not required, he added.
Last year, turnout was at a bare minimum, thanks to the strictures of COVID-19 and frigid weather conditions, with just 12 people taking part, a fraction of the typical turnout of 30 to 40, and just enough to cover the different count areas.
This year, backyard bird counters are being encouraged to participate.
“Every year more people are feeding birds in their back yards where our field observers are unable to count them, so we are inviting those people to call us on the day of the Count with the numbers of birds seen at some point during the day,” said organizer Gareth Pugh.
“We would be happy to provide free identification guides to anyone who would like them or ask one of our observers to visit you to help with identification,” Pugh added.
To provide backayrd numbers, call Gareth Pugh at 604-649-1027, John Gordon at 604-533-7171 or Mike Klotz at 604-861-1677, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The count is an early-winter bird census by the National Audubon Society, conducted with the help of more than 70,000 volunteers across Canada, the U.S. and many other countries in the Western Hemisphere.
Christmas bird counts began in 1900, when a group of concerned natural historians felt it was better to count living birds than try to shoot as many as possible in a day.
Information collected by participants over the past century are one of only two large pools of data about how birds of the Americas have been faring over time.
In 1962, the first count was carried out in the Surrey municipality with 17 observers.
This year’s fifth annual Christmas Bird Count for Kids and Youth will be hosted by Explore Science on Saturday, Dec. 31. Participants walk the area of Brydon Lagoon starting at 9 a.m.
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