Red tailed hawk near Railway Avenue in Smithers.                                Chris Gareau photo

Red tailed hawk near Railway Avenue in Smithers. Chris Gareau photo

Smithers Christmas Bird Count

Time to register for the annual bird count, an effort done across the hemisphere.

The 38th annual Smithers Christmas Bird Count will be held on Sunday, Dec. 30 from dawn until dusk.

Birders are needed to fill all the parts of the count circle. The circle is a 24-km diameter circle centred at the Central Park Building. We are looking for both experienced birders to take a specific area and beginners to accompany them and record the birds seen or heard on the day. Participants can go out for the whole day (preferred) or just part of the day (10 a.m. to 2 p.m. recommended). Feeder watchers are also encouraged to participate, but let us know, please.

In order to participate and be assigned an area to count, people must pre-register so that we do not end up counting the same area twice. Call 250-847-9429 to pre-register after Dec 12, please.

This count is one of over a thousand similar counts that take place throughout North, Central and parts of South America during a three-week period around Christmas. Apart from providing valuable scientific data about where the birds are in winter, it is a lot of fun. Birders count all the birds they see and hear in the circle surrounding Smithers. While we cannot hope to beat the highest ever recorded number of species (552 in Ecuador), it is fun to try and beat our own valley record of 58 species. (Hey, don’t laugh – some far north counts are lucky if they get 3 species).

We also ask that people start recording the species they see during count week, which is a period three days before and three days after the count day (i.e. Dec. 27 to Jan. 2) in case we miss them on count day.

If you have a feeder that you would like someone to count, please let us know where it is located.

After the count is over, we convene at someone’s house for a potluck supper, to compare notes, have good laughs and tally the results. Sometimes we go out and listen for owls after dark. Please register at 250-847-9429 as soon as possible after Dec. 12 and preferably before Dec. 23.

–Submitted article.