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Hawk through spotting scope
General News · 8th December 2011
Nancy Kendel

Penticton, BC, 2 December 2011 – Birders and nature enthusiasts ON Cortes Island will join birders across the western hemisphere and participate in North America’s longest-running wintertime birding tradition, the annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC), held on Sunday, December 18th. This year, over 2,200 individual counts are scheduled to take place throughout the Americas.

“Each CBC volunteer observer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation,” says Dick Cannings, the Bird Studies Canada Christmas Bird Count coordinator. “Bird Studies Canada and our partners at Audubon rely on data from the CBC database to inform a myriad of analyses regarding both bird conservation and climate change.”

During last year’s count, about 61 million birds were tallied in 2215 locations by over 62,000 volunteers, the number of both locations and observers a record level of participation. In Canada, almost 12,000 participants in 394 counts found 3.3 million birds.

The CBC began over a century ago when 27 conservationists in 25 localities, led by scientist and writer Frank Chapman, changed the course of ornithological history. On Christmas Day in 1900, the small group posed an alternative to the “side hunt,” a Christmas day activity in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds and small mammals. Instead, Chapman proposed that they identify, count, and record all the birds they saw, founding what is now considered to be the world's most significant citizen-based conservation effort – and a more than century-old institution.

Since Chapman’s retirement in 1934, new generations of observers have performed the modern-day count. Today, over 60,000 volunteers from all 50 states, every Canadian province, parts of Central and South America, Bermuda, the West Indies, and Pacific Islands, count and record every individual bird and bird species seen in a specified area.

The Cortes Island CBC is co-sponsored by the Cortes Island Museum and Bird Studies Canada. Participants will divide up into small groups to cover the island's best birding spots. All groups have experienced birders willing to share their knowledge, so novices are welcome! ($8 fee/participant over 18 years) ($5 for Bird Studies Canada and $3 for the museum) . A hot catered lunch can be reserved for $11. Bring binoculars, bird books & dress warmly. Backyard birdfeeder observers also needed (no fee). Participants must pre-register by calling 250-935-8508 or via email

Bird Studies Canada is recognized nation-wide as a leading and respected, not-for-profit, conservation organization dedicated to the study and understanding of wild birds and their habitats. Each year, more than 20,000 volunteers actively participate in BSC research and education activities.

Ring-necked Duck - Jerzy Trzesicki
Ring-necked Duck - Jerzy Trzesicki