The Victoria Natural History Society is conducting its annual Christmas Bird Count on December 15. On Dec 8, the Saturday before the count, there will be a “tune-up” walk around the lagoon. This is open to anyone who is interested. Meet at the bridge at 8:00 am. Contact the VNHS or Judy Nault for more information.
Beginning on Christmas Day 1900, ornithologist Frank Chapman, an early officer in the then budding Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition-a “Christmas Bird Census”-that would count birds in the holidays rather than hunt them. So began the Christmas Bird Count. These efforts have allowed hobbyists and scientists to monitor population trends and to get just a little closer to nature during the Christmas season.
More than 2000 communities in North America are assigned standardized 15-mile diameter circles in which to count all the birds they can in a single day. In our area, this covers almost all of the greater Victoria region, so we need plenty of help.
You don’t have to be an expert birder to participate. Novices will be teamed up with more experienced counters. You can help out by acting as a tally person or as a spotter. If you are more experienced, and are wondering about leading a team, we have areas in need of coordinators.
Most teams start out at first light, and although counting goes on throughout the day, much is completed by noon. There are a few “keeners” who go out looking and listening for owls in the pre-dawn hours, and a few teams of boating birders who check out the offshore waters, weather permitting and suitable boats available. Feeder counts can be reported via the VNHS website.
For those who are unsure about participating, or who want to tune-up their bird-counting skills, a number of field trips in November and early December will serve as a good practice. Check the VNHS Calendar for details.