Discovering Manitoba

Parkland's Annual Christmas Bird Count

Owl holding court, keeping watch over Riding Mountain National Park.

A winter rite of passage in Riding Mountain National Park, the annual Christmas Bird Count, will once again be held this December in Wasagaming, with participation from the surrounding communities of Onanole, Crawford Park and Whirlpool Lake to Bead Lakes.

As always, the bird count is a time for local enthusiasts to get outdoors and count the hardy winter birds that hang around our region all winter long. Local birders will focus their energies on searching an area 24-km in diameter, while doing their best to count all the birds within that circle on the selected day.

However, if beating the bushes during the winter doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you can also participate by counting the birds at your feeder. Remember too, that the count area is local to Clear Lake, and so if you are from Erickson, Sandy Lake or beyond, we would implore you to come to the Park to join us.

Annual Christmas Bird Counts are held in over 1800 localities across Canada, the United States and Latin America. Local rivalries and the long history of the count have made it one of the biggest social and sporting events in the birding world. More important for bird conservation however, is the huge database on the distribution and numbers of North American Birds that the Christmas Bird Count has amassed.

For more information or to pique your interest further, check out the Bird Studies Canada website: www.bsc-eoc.org/nation/cbcmain.html

Also, if you would like to participate, have questions, or would like to report a strange bird at your feeder, please give Ken Kingdon a call at (204) 848-7240.

- by Ken Kingdon

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