Members of the Langley/White Rock and Surrey Field Naturalists used scopes to count birds for the Christmas bird count last year. Since the borders of the cities overlap

Members of the Langley/White Rock and Surrey Field Naturalists used scopes to count birds for the Christmas bird count last year. Since the borders of the cities overlap

Century-old Christmas bird count returns

Jan. 2 bird count will benefit conservation efforts.

For 116 years, citizens from across North America have participated in the Christmas Bird Count. Thousands of volunteers organize together and trek into the winter air to count birds and contribute to one of the world’s largest data sets of wildlife surveys.

The collected data is then used for bird conservation efforts.

This year, the annual Christmas bird counts in the Lower Mainland will be held from Dec. 14 to Jan. 5. Each regional count is organized by a local birding club or naturalist organization.

On Monday, Jan. 2, the Langley Field Naturalists, led by local bird enthusiast Michael Klotz, will host a count as a part of the larger bird count in White Rock, Surrey and Langley.

Anyone can join this educational family activity. Birders of all experience are invited and beginners are welcome. It’s a great way to bring friends and family of all ages together for a day of outdoor fun.

A house finch, one of the birds that may be seen during the count.

You never know what you might catch a glimpse of – last January, George Cluclow, president of the BC Field Ornithologists spotted a rare sight: a Siberian accentor (Prunella montanella), a sparrow-sized bird very far from its usual habitat in native Russia. The bird then flitted around a farm at 160 Street and Colebrook Road, drawing birders from both sides of the 49th parallel.

Teams of birders will count species and numbers in an area bordered by 200 Street, 88 Avenue, 238 Street and 40 Avenue.

If anyone is interested in participating, please join the birders at Ricky’s Country Restaurant on Glover Road on Monday, Jan. 2 at 7:30 a.m., where a carpool system will be set up.

Please dress warmly and bring a packed lunch. Come and make some new friends and learn more about North America’s fastest growing pastime.

For more information, contact John Gordon at 604-533-7171 or visit www.thecanadianwarbler.blogspot.com.