Annual Bridgerland Christmas Bird Count set for Sat., December 19

Val Grant peers though field glasses he uses to find birds for the Bridgerland Audubon Society. Grant will participate in the 61st Annual Christmas Bird Count to the check the numbers of the different birds in Utah.

LOGAN – Val Grant of Logan is an avid bird watcher and has been since 1964 when he went to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Val Grant of Logan plans to participate in the annual Bridgerland Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, Dec. 19 in Cache Valley.

“It is something I could do anywhere in the middle of a city or out in the dessert,” he said. “I worked with birds while I was working at the Fish and Wildlife so it was something I just did.”

Grant said the only equipment needed is a pair of binoculars, clothing for the elements and a good field guide.

“Al Stokes got me into the Bridgerland Audubon Society in 1975,” he said. “It unfortunately became a passion.”

Grant said age has slowed him down a bit, but he will take part in the Bridgerland Christmas Bird Count to be held on Dec. 19, at various locations across Cache Valley.

The Bridgerland Audubon Society is calling on all birdwatcher enthusiasts to help with their 61st Logan Christmas Bird Count to be held on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. The Cache Valley Bird County will be part of the 121st National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count.

The local chapter president of the Audubon Society, Hilary Shughart, said they began counting birds in Cache Valley in 1955 and the Logan Christmas Bird Count is their contribution to the world’s largest, oldest citizen science project on Earth.

“We’re preparing to promote the National Audubon Society’s 121st Christmas Bird Count,” she said. “We hope that more and more people will participate from home. The home/feeder sector, no bird feeders required.”

The group is seeking anyone with an interest in feathered, winged animals with beaks from beginners to experienced birders to find and birds of prey like owls, falcons and eagles. Ducks, geese, and swans are equally important to count.

FILE – Sage grouse perform a mating rituals for a female grouse, not pictured.

The Bridgerland Audubon Society would like to break their record of finding 100 different bird species again this year.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to host their 16th local bird counts at locations across the state that same time and will continue to count throughout the months of December and January.

There will be several Christmas Bird Counts taking place along the Wasatch Front and in central Utah on that day.

Each bird count will take place in a predetermined 15-mile wide diameter circle, and volunteers will be given specific routes to drive and hike through the area, counting every bird they see or hear during the route.

Every bird counted that day will help determine the total number of birds and species in the area. DWR wants all attendees to follow social distancing guidelines, including wearing a mask and maintaining a six-foot distance during the surveys. Contact the organizer of the count in your area for more details about the changes this year due to COVID-19 concerns.

DWR Regional Conservation Outreach Manager Tonya Kieffer-Selby said during these annual counts they’ve collected more than 100 years of information about birds.

Participants of the Bridgerland Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count may see raptors like this Golden Eagle as part of their count. CREDIT: U.S. National Park Service.

“We’re using that data to assess the overall health of bird populations and to implement any conservation actions that may be needed for species survival,” Kieffer-Selby said. “Recent studies have shown that over 3 billion birds have been lost in North America in the last 50 years, which is why collecting this data is so important.”

She said birds are indicators of what’s happening in an environment. The data gathered about our local birds provides valuable information to conservation efforts worldwide.

For more information about the participating in the Logan Christmas Bird Count contact Hilary Shughart hilary.shughart@gmail.com

Participants should dress warm, pack a lunch and water, but most important bring their own pair of binoculars to use during the count. Participants can attend the bird count for the whole day or for a short time.

 

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