Area birders will soon be taking inventory and they are asking for your help. Ahead are the annual Christmas bird counts held in conjunction with the Audubon Society. According to the Audubon Society, the bird counts constitute the longest running volunteer Citizen Science survey in the world. This year marks the 114th consecutive year that the Audubon Society has been conducting Christmas bird counts.
"Continuous monitoring of birds is necessary since they are an important indicator of the overall health of our environment," said Sherry Leslie, Souris Valley Birding Club. "The surveys give critical data on the state of the bird population and which ones are at risk, their declining habitat and effect of environmental and weather changes."
Leslie encourages people other than members of the Souris Valley Birding Club to participate in the upcoming surveys or offer other assistance, which can be as simple as maintaining a bird feeder and alerting birders to its presence.
"We need volunteers to be field observers and feeder watchers are needed," said Leslie. "If you have feeders, please fill them and continue to feed through the count."
Local birders who wish to participate in the counts, either in the field or by maintaining a feeder, are asked to call Leslie at 725-4389 or Ron Martin at 624-5241. A list of active bird feeders in Minot will be compiled and included for observation during the Dec. 15 count.
"Our field observers will meet at 7:45 a.m. at McDonald's on Broadway," said Leslie. "New volunteers will be teamed with experienced birders for an all-day or half-day birding experience around Minot."
Area Christmas bird counts
Dec. 14 - Audubon NWR, 7:45 a.m.
Dec. 15 - Minot, Broadway McDonald's, 7:45 a.m.
Dec. 18 - J. Clark Salyer NWR, 8 a.m.
Dec. 18 - Lostwood NWR.
Dec. 19 - Des Lacs NWR.
Dec. 20 - Upper Souris NWR, 7:45 a.m.
In addition to the annual City of Minot bird count, other bird counts will be conducted at Audubon, Des Lacs, Lostwood, Upper Souris and J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuges and the Denbigh Experimental Forest. New birders are welcome to participate. All information from the counts will be forwarded to the Audubon Society for inclusion in their annual report on the status of birds in the U.S.