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Monte Vista Refuge bird count planned

Posted: Thursday, Dec 6th, 2012

MONTE VISTA Interested birders of all skill levels are encouraged to participate in the 55th Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge Christmas Bird Count on Saturday December 15. Bird enthusiasts will be among more than 43,000 volunteers participating nationwide in Annual Christmas Bird Counts.

This year marks the 114th anniversary since conservationists first carried out the bird counts on Christmas Day of 1900.

The event originated as a protest to the traditional holiday in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds and animals in one day.

Today, volunteers from all 50 states, every Canadian province, parts of Central and South America, Bermuda, the West Indies, and Pacific Islands count and record every individual bird and bird species encountered during one calendar day.

More than 1,650 individual Christmas Bird Counts will be held during a two and a half week period. Each group has a designated circle 15 miles in diameter (about 177 square miles) where they try to cover as much ground as possible in a 24- hour period.

Apart from its attraction as a social, sporting, and competitive event, the annual count provides scientists and environmentalists with valuable information on the early winter distribution patterns of various bird species and overall health of the environment.

Those interested in participating please email Lisa Clements at lgclements@yahoo.com or plan to meet at the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge office Saturday December 15, at 7:30 a.m. The refuge office is located 6.5 miles south of Monte Vista on Highway 15.

Participants can work as few or as many hours as they like. Also, those who live within the count circle and have a bird feeder can participate at home by counting birds at their feeders on count day. Owlers are encouraged to participate. Participants should plan on bringing warm clothing, a sack lunch, and binoculars if possible.

This year, the group will be counting birds seen in the Count Week. This count is separate from the Count Day, but is useful for the records keeping by the National Audubon Society, which collects the information we gather. Count week is the Wednesday before to the Wednesday following the official count day (Dec 12-Dec 19).

For further information contact Lisa Clements at lgclements@yahoo.com

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