124th Christmas Bird Count coming up

Audubon bird countBoundary County is where we call home, and it’s that time of year to count another group that also calls it home. It is time to survey our feathered friends living within a 7 1/2 mile radius of downtown Bonners Ferry. No matter the weather, volunteers will begin at the first light of the day on Thursday, December 28. From the finches at the feeder, the waterfowl in the creek to the eagles soaring up above, their goal is to get a count of the birds that winter in the greater Bonners Ferry area.

This is the 124th annual Christmas Bird Count sponsored by the Audubon Society and gives the chance for local birders (bird watchers) to be part of a world-wide citizen science program. This activity will provide an early winter snapshot of bird populations.

With the efforts of the Boundary County group new species have been added to the winter list, along with a few that should have left but didn’t. We always have hundreds of crows, ravens and Canada geese to count, along with the wild turkeys that eluded the fall hunt. How many will we see on count day?

Those interested will meet at Chic ‘n Chop, 6421 Main Street, Bonners Ferry, for a no-host breakfast at 6:30 a.m. on count day. Guidelines will be discussed and those in attendance will break into groups for the count.

Each group will be led by an experienced birder, so new or amateur birders are welcome to join. The more eyes, and ears, mean more birds can be counted.

As in years past, those with bird feeders in their yards are also asked to also take part. If you live within the count area and have an active bird feeder in your yard, please contact us! You can either tally the birds that come to your feeder that day and provide us a count or we can come count for you.

Please let us know. Bird feeders are important, as a variety of species can feed in one place. You can always help by just putting out feed a few days beforehand and again that day. Fill those feeders!

A gathering will take place at the end of the day, again at Chic ‘n Chop, to combine our counts and find out what the other groups have spotted. Did someone find a dipper or maybe a snowy owl? How many wrens did we find this year?

There is no cost to participate. We just ask that you come prepared for the weather, dress appropriately, bring snacks and drinks and bring binoculars and a bird identification book if you have them.

Pre-registration is encouraged as this helps coordinators determine the number of groups and leaders needed. For more information or to pre-register email bfbirdcount@gmail.com. Thank you for participating in this important event!