Participants keep a weather eye for flying fowl at the overlook in Qualicum Beach during the annual Parksville Qualicum Beach Christmas Bird Count. This year’s count takes place Dec. 18.

Many ways to participate in ther annual Christmas Bird Count in Parksville Qualicum Beach

This is the 117th year for the bird count in North America

A year ago, the Arrowsmith Naturalists’ Parksville Qualicum Beach Christmas Bird Count topped 100 participants for the first time.

Birding enthusiasts are invited to help that number grow even higher when the 26th BCPQ takes place Sunday, Dec. 18, across the mid-Island.

The Parksville Qualicum Beach count is part of the worldwide Christmas Bird Count, which is in its 117th year throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands.

Last year 99 counts took place in British Columbia and 471 in Canada. Canadian participants totalled 14,468 and the BCPQ had 100 participants for the first time.

Volunteers are welcome to join teams in the field, or participants may count birds from home for the feeder count.

All birds seen and heard are counted midnight to midnight within the established BCPQ Count Circle. Teams of three to seven birders will spread out throughout the Count Circle, a 24-km diameter circle centred near French Creek Marina, covering a variety of terrain from dawn to dusk. Some birders like to challenge themselves further by owling before the sun comes up or late into the evening after the traditional potluck/wrap-up that most attend.

“A very helpful and necessary group of participants are the many private land owners and facility managers that allow entry to their large acreages to count birds,” said Sandra Gray, event co-ordinator. “This entry gives the birders expansive views of agricultural fields, access to private ponds and barns and a few conservation areas with restricted entry.”

The Feeder Count allows many more people to contribute to this long-running citizen science project. Feeder Count Checklists are now available at Buckerfield’s in Parksville.

To join a team in the field or if you have any questions contact CBC compiler Sandra Gray at 250-248-5565 or saninerr@shaw.ca.

— Submitted by Sandra Gray

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