The Dryden Observer

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Volunteers needed for Christmas Bird Count

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
A Bohemian Waxwing feeds on ornamental crabs in late November. Photo by Heather Patterson

Submitted by Carolle Eady

Over 100 years ago, Frank Chapman, scientist and writer, encouraged 27 conservationists in North America to undertake an alternative to the traditional “Side Hunt”. On Christmas Day, 1900, instead of competing to shoot the most game, including birds, Chapman’s group identified, counted, and recorded every bird they saw. Today, what has become known as the “Christmas Bird Count” is the longest-running citizen science survey in the world.

Last year, there were 2215 counts completed—394 in Canada, 1714 in the United States, and 107 in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands. Canada, with over 12,000 volunteers, tallied 286 species. Areas near large bodies of open water, or in warmer climates count more species than those from frozen lands like northwestern Ontario. Thunder Bay often counts over 50 species. Last year, Dryden found 28 species and Eagle River totaled 31. To reach our goal of over 40 species, we need help from people of all ages.

On Saturday, December 17, everyone is invited to take part in the Christmas Bird Counts for Dryden and Eagle River. During this 24-hour period, interested people are asked to keep track of each species they observe and record the highest number of each species seen at any one time. Volunteers can cover a designated route within the count circle and/or may count at their feeders for whatever length of time they can spare.

The two count circles—each 24-km. in diameter—are roughly adjacent to each other. All birds seen or heard from Thunder Lake in the east, to Kupper’s Road in the west and extending north and south of Hwy. 17 can be included in the data. Whether you are working outside, enjoying winter sports, hunting or trapping, looking out your window, or just driving through this area, we encourage you to report any birds that you see. Since the Christmas Bird Count is a friendly competition between communities to see who can find the most species, calls concerning lone birds such as grouse, owls, eagles, hawks, and ducks are most welcome. The more birds reported the better! Please note the location and the number of birds of each species seen. Your help is greatly appreciated!

The contact for the Dryden Count is Darlene Salter 937-4548 or Angie Massey 937-6527. Eagle River Count: Carolle Eady 755-2117.

Note: Snowy Owls have been showing up along the north shore of the Great Lakes and in southern Ontario in the last few weeks. These northern birds come south in search of food. Please share any sightings of Snowy Owls seen at any time.

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