Merritt Christmas Bird Count – Sunday 16th December 2012

The Nicola Naturalists will be running the Merritt Christmas Bird Count on Sunday 16 December. Keep reading to see how you can participate.

Clark’s Nutcracker – one of the species regularly reported on the Merritt Christmas Bird Count. Photo: © Alan Burger

Christmas Bird Counts, run by the Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada, involve counting all birds within a circle 24 km in diameter (15-miles) on a selected day. Each area’s count is always made in the same circle and this gives a useful record of the changes in abundance and species within that area. Christmas Bird Counts have been run  for over 110 years and there are thousands of count circles across North America and abroad. The Christmas Bird Count database maintained by the Audubon Society is the largest citizen-science database in the world. It is a very valuable conservation tool and has been used for numerous studies showing changes in range distribution or abundance of bird species. With growing effects of global climate change, this database is crucial to understanding how birds and ecosystems are responding to the changes.

But, the main aim of the Christmas Bird Count is to have fun! You don’t have to be an expert to participate. We form five or six groups to cover different parts of the count circle, and there are always some folks in each group who can identify birds. Its a great way to learn more about our winter birds. We also have feeder-watchers who report what shows up at their bird feeders on the count day. Come for the whole day or just part of the day. We meet at 07:00 at the Merritt A&W restaurant on Voght Street, divide up into parties and head out within the Merritt Christmas Bird Count circle to record all the birds we can. At the end of the day we get together for a pot-luck supper, share our day’s adventures and tally up the bird counts.

To register for the Merritt Christmas Bird Count please send an e-mail to or phone 250-378-2468.

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