Chukars enjoying the winter sunshine in Cache Creek.

Chukars enjoying the winter sunshine in Cache Creek.

Bird Count stats make a difference

The annual Christmas Bird Count for Ashcroft-Cache Creek is being held this year on Dec. 23.

The annual Bird Count in Ashcroft/Cache Creek is scheduled for Wed., Dec. 23. Renowned birding experts Karl Ricker from Whistler and Bert Parke from Logan Lake will return. Experts and amateurs alike are invited to take part.

The local Count began in 2005 and the small group of volunteers counts between 3,000-5,000 birds in one day.

The Christmas Bird Count is held all over the world between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5, and is meant to provide a “snapshot” of the winter bird population across the globe for such organizations as Bird Studies Canada. Volunteer bird counters are a key element in tracking bird population trends.

During the local Count, volunteers routinely count hundreds of juncos, house finches, sparrows, blackbirds, and the more common varieties, but also come up with exciting spottings of  Eared Grebes, Golden Eagles, Pygmy Nuthatches and Northern Pygmy Owls.

Everyone with an interest in birding or learning about birding is invited to come out for an invigorating and interesting day of “citizen science” as participants  search outside on foot and by car for any and all birds in their specific “circle”.

The group will meet between 8-8:30 am at the Grand Central Restaurant in Ashcroft to fortify with coffee and to organize teams. Binoculars and a bird identification book are helpful but not necessary. Dress for spending a few hours outside in Winter temperatures.

Expertise in identifying birds is not necessary, as amateurs are paired up with more seasoned birders. Enthusiasm and a good “eye” for spotting birds is all that is necessary.

This is a small commitment of time and a fun way to get some fresh air, meet other birders and add the names of our communities to worldwide bird statistics.