Bird counters needed on Salt Spring

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Island birders and nature enthusiasts are gearing up for the annual Christmas Bird Count on Salt Spring, which takes place from dawn into darkness on Saturday, Dec. 16.

Experienced bird watchers and anyone else who would like to participate are welcome to the North America-wide citizen-science initiative.

“This is an exciting day for birders of all abilities,” said Kathleen Maser, who is helping to organize the 2018 count on Salt Spring. “Having begun in 1900, it is by far the longest-running citizen-science project around. Imagine knowing you will add to a century of scientific data.”

Last year’s count revealed 10,800 birds on Salt Spring land and water. The dark-eyed junco was most prevalent at 1,188 counted, followed by the chestnut-backed chickadee. Other birds with high numbers include the robin and common mergansers.

For more information or to get involved in this year’s count, contact khmaser@shaw.ca or pbmcallister@gmail.com. Those who need help will be paired with an experienced birder. Maser can connect people with the zone captain in their neighbourhood.

“Your captain will want to know how comfortable you are with identifying winter birds in your area and if need be will set you up with an experienced birder,” Maser said. “There are also feeder watchers who count birds at their feeders for a portion of the day.”

For more on this story, see the Dec. 5, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.

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