See the birds, count the birds

Whidbey Audubon’s 15th Christmas Bird Count is set for Saturday, Dec. 15, no matter the weather. Groups will use all the daylight possible to count. People may even get out early to look and listen for owls.

Fifteen teams will attempt to count all the birds in a 15-mile diameter circle centered at Arnold Road and Highway 20. The area covered includes land from the north side of Ault Field to south of Admirals Cove. Each team will be assigned an area varying in size according to the terrain, and will be led by an experienced birder. Last year’s count totalled more than 20,000 birds with 112 species represented.

This is the 102nd Christmas Bird Count sponsored by the National Audubon Society. Christmas Bird Counts involve more than 50,000 participants in more than 1,700 counts in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands. The results comprise the largest and longest term bank of information on trends in bird populations. Each year’s count results are published in a special edition of “American Birds” magazine and on line.

Anyone is welcome, no experience is necessary. Don’t worry if you don’t know the difference between a harlequin duck and a varied thrush, at least one experienced birder will be in each group. So grab your binoculars, bring a field manual if you have one and dress according to weather. To sign up, call Bob Merrick at 678-3161.

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