MONTROSE, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management and the Audubon Society are looking for bird watching enthusiasts to assess the health of bird populations near Montrose, Delta, Gunnison and Hotchkiss.
“For over one hundred years, the desire to both make a difference and to experience the beauty of nature has driven dedicated people to leave the comfort of a warm house during the holiday season,” said Missy Siders, BLM biologist.
The count takes place within Count Circles, which focus on specific geographical areas and each circle is overseen by a Count Compiler. Count circles will be divided and areas assigned to participants at the meeting sites listed below. Beginning bird watchers will join a group that includes at least one experienced person.
“Each of the citizen scientists who annually brave snow, wind or rain to take part in the Christmas Bird Count makes an enormous contribution to conservation. Audubon and other organizations use data collected in this longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations and to help guide conservation action,” said John Horn, Black Canyon Audubon. “From feeder-watchers and field observers to count compilers and regional editors, everyone who takes part in the Christmas Bird Count does it for love of birds and the excitement of friendly competition -- and with the knowledge that their efforts are making a difference for science and bird conservation.”
The counts take place on the following dates and locations:
Saturday, Dec. 15 -Montrose.
Meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Montrose Public Lands Center parking lot, 2465 South Townsend Avenue. We will bird watch until we get the circle done or run out of daylight. All data needs to be turned into the leader by the end of the day. Contact Missy Siders, 970-240-5332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, Dec. 16 - Delta.
Meet at 8 a.m. in the Delta City Market parking lot. Bird until we get the circle done, or run out of daylight. For more information contact Amy Seglund at 970-252-6014 or email@example.com.
Sunday, Dec. 16 - Gunnison.
Meet at 7:30 a.m. at Western State College Campus, Hurst Hall, Room 130 to get organized. A chili potluck at 5:30 p.m. completes the day and provides an opportunity to compile the results. Contact Arden Anderson at 970-641-5322 the week before the count with any questions. All data needs to be turned into the leader by the end of the day or other arrangements must be endorsed by the leader.
Saturday, Jan. 5 - Hotchkiss.
Meet at 8 a.m. in the Hotchkiss City Market parking lot to break into groups. For more information and for those who want to meet earlier for observing owls, contact Jason Beason at 970-310-5117 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Jason would like to hear from everyone that plans on helping with the count, but it isn’t necessary to participate with this group!
If your home is within the boundaries of a Count Circle, you can stay home and report the birds that visit your feeder.
Christmas bird counting volunteers should bring warm clothes, snacks and/or lunch, drinks, binoculars, spotting scope and bird books. Maps of the birding areas and checklists of birds will be provided.
For more information about Christmas Bird Counting participation, visit Audubon's website at http://birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count and click on the "Get Involved" link. For additional information on local efforts, call the numbers listed above or contact Jon Horn, Black Canyon Audubon at 970-249-6761, ext. 14