Annual Delta/Richmond bird count set for Dec. 27

Area rated tops in Canada for spotting greatest number of wintering species

Mallards at the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary.

Birders and nature enthusiasts in Delta and South Richmond will join others across the western hemisphere to participate in Audubon’s longest-running wintertime tradition—the annual Christmas Bird Count on Dec. 27.

This year, more than 2,000 individual counts are scheduled to take place throughout the Americas and beyond from Dec. 14, 2011 to Jan. 5, 2012.

The Ladner Christmas Bird Count is open to birders of all skill levels and each area team needs people who will be drivers, recorders, or spotters.

Each of the 12 area teams are led by experienced birders who will work with the team in identifying all birds seen.

The Ladner Christmas Bird Count was started in the mid 1950s and has always been one of the top three counts for bird species seen on count day in Canada. In 2010 the Ladner count was the number one count in British Columbia and tops in Canada with 144 species seen on count day.

Generally mild winters and availability of food make Boundary Bay and the Fraser River estuary a major wintering area for many species that spend their summers in Siberia, Alaska and Northern Canada.

Count organizers says that for many birds this is south with the area tallying the highest number of wintering species in Canada for raptors (hawks, eagles, owls, and falcons), shorebirds and waterfowl.

Following the day’s count the teams will gather at the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary on Westham Island for a hot supper, to share details of rare or unusual birds seen, and to participate in the daily tally of species.

Those interested in participating in the Ladner Christmas Bird Count can contact the count coordinator Jude Grass at 604-538-8774, 604-219-2043 or by email at judegrass@shaw.ca.

Surrey North Delta Leader

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