The annual Christmas Bird Count is fast approaching, and everyone is invited to bundle up and spend the day looking for birds on December 17. As a warm up to the count, Fernie’s own Nature Bob, aka Bob Livsey, is putting on a workshop to help residents get ready to identify local birds.
Taking place on Thursday, December 6, the workshop will start with an hour long stroll around the community to take a peek at some of the common bird species. Following the walk, the group will head inside the Aquatic Centre to learn more about what they saw.
“I’ve got a slide presentation to show how to count birds, to explain how to identify different birds, and to let people be reassured that they have the information they need to participate in the count,” said Livsey. “Most people already have the general knowledge of the birds that are here in the winter.”
There are roughly 40 species of birds living in Fernie during the winter, including chickadees, crows, rock doves, ravens, eagles, and finches.
Livsey will also talk about how to identify the less obvious species. “You’re looking at habitat and you’re looking at time of the year,” he commented. “Everybody has enough common sense that they usually have a fair amount of knowledge without even realizing it.”
Livsey pointed out that bird watching experience isn’t necessary to be a part of the workshop or the count itself. He explained, “When we do the count, I divide people up so that there will be maybe four people on a team, and one will be a good birder that knows their stuff.”
The Christmas Bird Count provides important information for bird conservation. Data from past counts has been used in assessment reports that added the Western Screech-Owl, Rusty Blackbird, and Newfoundland Red Crossbill to the Species at Risk Act lists. The information gathered is also used to create the State of Canada’s Birds report.
Nature Bob’s workshop will start at the Aquatic Centre at 1 p.m. on Thursday, December 6. Fernie’s Christmas Bird Count will begin at 8:30 a.m. outside the Max Turyk School on December 17. To register for either, contact Bob Livsey at firstname.lastname@example.org.