The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) was started in 1900 by Frank Chapman, ornithologist and officer of the then new Audubon Society. The count originated as a protest against a practice called the Christmas side hunt. It was a “side” hunt because folks would gather form groups and take sides to see which group could shoot the widest variety of wildlife, furred or feathered, at Christmas.
During this period any observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations and the CBC provided an alternative activity which reduced the annual slaughter. Fortunately, the signing of the Lacey Act in 1900 and the Migratory Bird Treaty in 1918 ended the “side” hunt.
Currently, habitat loss, mostly from various human activities, greatly contributes to declining bird numbers. Studies by the World Conservation Union and the Stanford Center for Conservation Biology predict that in the next 100 years, 10 per cent to 25 per cent of all bird species will become extinct. Birds are important to the nature of things; being voracious feeders on insects, weed seeds and rodents a healthy bird population helps control their population. Yes, sometimes they eat a bit of fruit too, but this is mitigated by their beneficial habits.
If you are interested in birds join us on December 22. We need ‘spotters’, other eyes to scan the landscape bringing birds to our attention. Inexperienced people will be pared with experienced birders who are willing to share their knowledge. Participants are assigned a route, counting and recording the birds they see. This is an excellent opportunity to learn to better identify birds, get outside on a winter day, and enjoy the beautiful Similkameen while contributing important information to the study of bird populations. If we are lucky, we will have weather similar to what we are currently enjoying.
Local CBC’s occur around Princeton, Hedley/Apex, Penticton, Vaseux Lake, Oliver-Osoyoos, Bridesville, and in many other communities throughout North America. The information gathered is documented and becomes important information in tracking the status of birds across the continent and around the world.
Upon completion we gather, enjoy a pot luck supper, share interesting happenings and report our count.
To find out were we meet call Lee McFadyen at 499 5404
For more information on Bird Studies Canada visit: // www.bsc-eoc.org/