The North Okanagan Naturalist Club hosts its annual Christmas Bird Count Dec. 17. (Photo submitted)

Christmas bird count takes flight

North Okanagan Naturalist Club host annual event Dec. 17

Get ready to count the birds.

The North Okanagan Naturalists Club wishes everyone who participates a fun day as the annual Christmas Bird Count is slated for Sunday, Dec. 17.

“We invite all interested people (new and experienced birders alike) to participate in this year’s count,” said coordinator Peter Blokker. “If you are interested in joining us for a day to count our feathered friends in the Vernon area, with your binoculars or camera, please contact me and we will do our best to match you with a group of experienced naturalists for the outing.”

Started in 1900, the annual Christmas Bird Count is North America’s longest-running citizen science project.

The count focuses on the winter bird population, which is quite different from summer, as many birds leave this area for warmer climes and other species arrive from the far north.

The information collected by thousands of volunteer participants forms one of the world’s largest set of wildlife survey data and is used daily by biologists to assess population trends and distribution of birds.

The results of all counts are submitted to Bird Studies Canada and collated for all of North America. Each Christmas Bird Count is completed within a previously established 24 kilometre diameter area on a single day.

Another way to participate is to observe and count the birds at your feeder.

For details, contact Blokker a week before the day of the count. Please note that your location has to be within the count circle (12-km radius from the middle of Vernon).

Blokker can be reached by e-mail at pfblokker@telus.net or by phone at 250-545-8297.

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