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Volunteers wanted for Christmas Bird Counts at area National Wildlife Refuges

The Des Lacs, Lostwood, Upper Souris and J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuges will participate in the 113th annual Christmas Bird Count by hosting counts centered around each refuge headquarters.

12/13/12 (Thu)

The Des Lacs, Lostwood, Upper Souris and J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuges will participate in the 113th annual Christmas Bird Count by hosting counts centered around each refuge headquarters. 

The counts, sponsored by the National Audubon Society, will start at 8:00 am at these participating refuge headquarters: Wednesday, December 19th for Lostwood Refuge; Thursday, December 20 for Des Lacs and J. Clark Refuges; and Friday, December 21 for Upper Souris Refuge. 

Counters at the area refuges will be among the more than 45,000 volunteers participating across Canada, the U.S., parts of Central and South America, and Antarctica between December 14, 2012 and January 5, 2013.

Apart from its attraction as a social and sporting event, the annual count reveals interesting and scientifically useful information through the use of citizen science on how various bird species are distributed in winter. Everyone is welcome to participate, as the counts are open to birders of all skill levels free of charge. Interested participants should arrive at the respective refuge headquarters on the scheduled days. 

Typically, new or novice birders team up with more experienced birders to learn some new birds along the way and share in the fun. The routes are searched by vehicle and on foot (including snowshoes or cross-country skis some years), depending on weather and choice of the participant. 

Suggested items to bring include binoculars and a bird field guide, warm clothing and boots, a car or truck with a full tank of gas, and snacks and coffee/hot chocolate for the day.

Long history for
Des Lacs Refuge bird count
The Christmas Bird Count at Des Lacs Refuge has a long tradition, dating back to the late 1930s. In past years, up to several thousand birds from 20 to 30 different species have been tallied by participants, including a record 32 species in 1995. 

A potluck lunch will be served at Des Lacs Refuge headquarters at noon on the 20th for those participating in the count. 

Birdwatchers staying at home and observing birds at their feeders in Kenmare can contribute such observations for the day. Phone Laurie Richardson at 701-629-9928 to report birds observed at your feeder on the 20th or for more information about the Des Lacs count.

Lostwood refuge is
newest bird count
Lostwood Refuge is the newest count with this being the third official year. The Lostwood Birding and Nature Association sponsors this event, which is the only one to count birds on top of the coteau. Last year, 25 species and 1,548 individual birds were recorded. 

Binoculars are available for loan and a potluck lunch will be served at noon on the 19th for those participating in the count. 

Anyone in Powers Lake who wants to contribute feeder counts on December 19 is welcome to report observations by contacting Laurie Richardson at 701-629-9928 or Darrel Rytter at 701-240-3885.

Volunteers welcome for
Upper Souris and J. Clark
Salyer refuge counts
Data from Christmas Bird Counts at Upper Souris and J. Clark Refuge date back to 1954 with documents on file of bird count summaries signed by the “Father of the National Wildlife Refuge System,” J. Clark Salyer II. Contact Gary Eslinger at 768-2548 ext. 115 with questions or for more information about the J. Clark count. 

A potluck dinner will be served at noon on the 21st for those participating in the Upper Souris count. For questions or more information about the Upper Souris Bird Count, contact refuge staff at 701-468-5467.