The annual Banff-Canmore Christmas Bird Count (CBC) organized by the Bow Valley Naturalists will take place on Saturday, Dec.17.
It’s the 37th consecutive year for this event.
Last year, 64 participants enjoyed a fine winter day looking for birds in our part of the Bow Valley despite fairly cold temperatures first thing in the morning. However, as has been learned in the past, reasonably good conditions do not automatically produce an abundance of birds.
For the third year in a row, totals both for number of species – 41 – and number of individual birds – 1,752 – were below the long-term average. This was dramatically the case for the total of individual birds that was 870 below the long-term average and 500 fewer than last year. Hopes are high that things will be different this year, especially given the heavy cone crop on many spruce trees.
CBCs are done throughout North America and in some tropical areas in Central America, northern South America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands.
The activity began well over a century ago in the U.S. as a protest of the existing Christmas tradition in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds and other animals in one day. This year, more than 57,000 volunteers are expected to be involved in over 2,000 locations. Results from these counts may be used to help track bird populations as they respond to global climate change.
Standard procedure for CBCs requires that counting be done during one 24-hour period within a designated circle of 24 kilometres diameter. The Banff-Canmore count circle has its centre on the Bow River below Mount Rundle so as to include the town of Banff west to Vermilion Lakes, and the town of Canmore east to the Trans Canada/Highway 1A interchange.
This massive, international volunteer ornithological effort is co-ordinated by the National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada. Participants over the age of 18 are asked to contribute $5 which is forwarded to these organizations to assist with costs of compiling all the data.
After count results have been submitted, they may be viewed at: www.audubon.org/bird/cb or www.bsc-eoc.org
The Banff-Canmore count will be followed by a potluck supper at the Banff Seniors Centre where results will be compiled and stories exchanged about the day’s activities.
For more information, or to find out how to take part, contact Mike or Diane McIvor at 403-762-4160 in Banff, or Colleen Campbell at 403-678-2051 in Canmore.