Saturday, November 10, 2012

Forest Grove Christmas Bird Count - December 22, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Birders of all skill levels sought in Forest Grove, Oregon, on December 22 

FOREST GROVE, OREGON (November 10, 2012) - This year’s Forest Grove Christmas Bird Count is Saturday, December 22. You are invited!

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is a census of birds in the Western Hemisphere, performed annually in the early Northern-hemisphere winter by volunteer birdwatchers. The purpose is to provide population data for use in science, especially conservation biology, though many people participate for recreation. (Wikipedia)

Although overseen by the National Audubon Society (http://birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count), volunteer counters do not have to belong to this organization. It is free to participate.

Forest Grove’s 15 mile diameter count circle includes Hagg Lake in the west, Jackson Bottom Wetlands in the east, Bald Peak in the south, and Roy in the north. Participants are encouraged to spend the whole day afield counting birds, but partial day counters are permitted. They are assigned an area to cover and they do their best to record all the birds seen and heard in their areas, recording bird species and numbers, time spent, and distance traveled by car or walking. Assignments can be in town, farmland, forest, or wetlands, mostly driving in some count areas or mostly walking in other count areas. There is also an opportunity for owl listening in the early morning before sunrise. Feeder watching, for those living within the count circle, is another way to participate—just record the birds coming to your feeder and the time spent actually watching.

Unlike recent years this count isn’t competing for the date with other popular local CBCs. Tillamook’s count is December 15; Sauvie Island’s count is December 29; Portland’s count is January 5. This should allow the count to pull in some experienced birders from nearby areas. But, really, bird watchers of all skill-levels are welcome and desired. Many birders got their first taste of bird watching by attending a Christmas Bird Count. Beginners are paired with more experienced birders—no pressure, this is meant as a fun day of birding.

Meet at Elmers Pancake House (390 SW Adams, Hillsboro) at 7 a.m. (earlier if you wish to order breakfast) to receive your assignment. Spend the day counting birds in a small group. Bring your results back to Elmers about 4:30-5:00 PM. When all are back there is a countdown—a fun, informal count of all species seen. Most participants record 50-70 bird species in their areas. The count as a whole often records 110+ species.

Dress warmly with waterproof hiking boots (or an extra pair of shoes), drive and park carefully, bring a sack lunch. Bring binoculars, spotting scope (if you have one), cell phone for communicating with count compilers to report and learn of any rare birds!

 If you wish to get an area pre-assigned contact Greg Gillson, otherwise just show up at Elmer’s at 7:00 a.m. the morning of count day.

Contact (email preferred):
Mary Anne Sohlstrom (503) 463-9540 masohlstrom@msn.com
Greg Gillson greg@thebirdguide.com

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