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Bird Count to Be Held This Week in the Wood River Valley
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Tuesday, January 11, 2022
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

The first Christmas Bird Count ever to take place in the Wood River Valley will be held Thursday, Jan. 13.

The Wood River Land Trust is teaming up with local birders Poo Wright Pulliam and Brian Sturges for the pilot project with the expectation that it will become a tradition in the years to come. And the public is invited to join in the fun.

Birders will survey a 15-mile area, including the Wood River Land Trust’s Boxcar Bend Preserve, extending south through Hailey into the new Simons/Bauer Preserve. They will include Quigley Canyon in their survey.

Birders will meet at Hop Porter Park in Hailey at 7:45 a.m. and start the survey, which is expected to last until 4 p.m.

Since this is a test project, it is not officially registered with the Audubon Society. However, birders will still perform a rigorous data collection—much like they’ve done with earlier Christmas Bird Counts in the Silver Creek area.

“We are very excited to see what we learn about our local birds with this count,” said Hannah Meenach, community lands steward for the Land Trust.

The annual Christmas Bird Count run by the National Audubon Society kicks off the birding season around the nation.

It started on Christmas Day 1900 when ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, an early officer in the Audubon Society proposed a bird census as an alternative to the traditional Christmas Bird Hunt. Prior to that time, hunters had engaged in a Christmas Side Hunt where whoever brought in the biggest pile of feathered and furry quarry won.

Conservation was in its early stages then, according to the Audubon website, and many scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. So, the 25 Christmas Bird Counts held by 27 birders that day in places like Toronto, Ontario, and Pacific Grove, Calif., was hailed as a win-win for the birds.

Today the data collected by local Christmas Bird Counts gives scientists a sense of the health, breeding status and overall well-being of local bird populations, said Meenach.

“The power of these kinds of citizen science programs shows when combined with the thousands of other bird counts going on around the world,” she added.

Questions? Call Hannah Meenach at 208-309-8726 or email her at hannah@woodriverlandtrust.org

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