The Whistler Naturalists call upon volunteers to join with all other birders across the Western Hemisphere and participate in the longest running, winter-time tradition, Christmas Bird Count (CBC). All skill levels of observers can help with this activity which winds up with a countdown party at the end of the day. This year the sponsoring organization, Bird Studies Canada, is focussing their attention on the following boreal birds: Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker, White-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin and especially the Rusty Blackbird because their numbers appear to be in decline. All but the White-throated and the Rusty have been recorded on local bird counts, and the Pine Siskin has had "irruptive" appearances, being few in some years and counted by the hundreds in other years.
The bird count consists of three components: (1) 9 to 10 field partier that count the number of all individual birds sighted throughout the day of Dec. 14 th (a Sunday); (2) a count of all birds seen at back and front yard feeders by those who choose to remain at their home on Dec. 14 th ; and (3) a tally of species only (not their numbers) over the periods of Dec. 11 to 13 and 15 to 17 to check on what species might have been overlooked on count day (the 14 th ). On count day we will also have a night time owling party to try and record the presence of nocturnal birds usually not seen in the daylight hours.
Those interested in joining a field party or watching their bird feeders on count day are asked to contact Karl Ricker (604-938-1107) or Mike Thompson (604-932-5010) as soon as possible. Field partiers will set out at 8:30 a.m. and will wind up the day at 1600 hours. At 1730 hours all party members are invited to come to Mike and Shirley Thompson’s residence to join in the countdown party which hopefully will net more species than our friendly rival, Banff, Alberta. It's a nip and tuck contest every year, with 40 to 50 species tallied at each location. This year the frozen-over lakes may dent our numbers, and certainly the mid autumn weather of extreme wetness followed by a cold snap did not do us any favours.
Not to go unmentioned in the Christmas Bird Count is the Sea to Sky Corridor transect from ocean to the Interior dry belt through the heart of the Coast Mountains. The following counts could also use your help: Squamish on Dec. 20 th(Linda Dupuis, phone 604-898-4770), Pemberton on Dec. 16 th (Hugh Naylor, phone 604-894-6402), D'Arcy on Dec. 17 th (Dan Cummings, phone 604-452-3453), and Lillooet on Dec. 28 th(Dr. Ian Routley, phone 250-256-4062) Last year our Heather Bainer participated in all Sea to Sky counts (this is our birder of the year) and she will be the leader of the Alta Vista to Nesters "beat" for our local count this year.
So remember the old adage: bird(ers) of a feather will flock together – at the Thompsons’ house at the end of our day!
Christmas Bird Count – Dec. 14
Monthly Bird Walk – Saturday, Jan. 3, 2004. 8 a.m. Meet at the bottom of Lorimer Road at the Catholic church. Join Whistler experts in the monthly update of our feathered locals and migrants and brush up your skills to get ready for the Christmas bird count.
Written by: Karl Ricker