Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Bird counters needed for annual Audubon tallies


November 15, 2018 | View PDF

National Audubon Society volunteer Pam Randles is looking for 30 volunteers to count birds this December.

The Audubon Society uses volunteer-derived data amassed from across North America to track bird populations in its annual Christmas bird count. The society released a report four years ago that predicts how climate change could affect the ranges of 588 North American birds.

On Dec. 18, Randles said volunteers will count birds in a 15-mile radius in an area that extends from the end of Mud Bay to 9 Mile Haines Highway and the end of Lutak. Another group will conduct a count in the Mosquito Lake area. “There’s maps, and (volunteers) choose an area, a subsection, and count as many as they can in that area on that day,” Randles said. “Considering the days are short and the weather can be mercurial, shall we say, everybody just does their best.”

The Audubon Society will use the counts to determine a “center of abundance” for bird species. Randles said several bird species stay longer and others are new arrivals. “We got Anna’s Hummingbirds in the last count,” Randles said. “We shouldn’t have hummingbirds in the wintertime. Based on the data (the Audubon Society has) nationally, they have shown that bird, as a group, is moving north as much as 300 or 400 miles.” Volunteers can contact Randles at 766-3664 or sign up at Alaska Backcountry Outfitters.

The annual count began in 1900 when an ornithologist proposed a “Christmas Bird Census” that would count birds during the holidays rather than hunt them—an activity that was correlated to declining bird populations, according to the Audubon website.


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