2006-01-05 / News

Count the island birds this Saturday

By Donna K. Drago

This coming Saturday a group of hardy souls will get up at sunrise and get out in whatever the weather may bring for the purpose of counting birds.

Yes, counting birds.

Candy Powell, a longtime birder and organizer of Jamestown’s annual bird counts, said that the tradition of a “Christmas Bird Count” was started more than 100 years ago by an Audubon Society chapter, and the tradition continues around the country, with local chapters counting all the birds they can find on a specific day and reporting them in.

The count does not have to be on Christmas Day, but it is usually held within 10 days on either side of the holiday, Powell said.

In Jamestown, the count typically draws between 12 and 15 birders, but Powell said that novice birders are welcome. It’s a good chance to learn from experienced birders, Powell said, adding, “That’s how we all learned.”

The winter bird counts usually include about 65 to 75 species, depending on weather conditions and the number of expert birders who turn up to count, Powell said.

Seabirds and ducks like eiders, goldeneyes, harlequins, and mergansers are usually the stars of the winter bird counts, according to Powell.

They spend the winter hanging around just offshore on Beavertail and also at Ft. Wetherill, and Mackerel Cove, she said.

Loons and grebes are usually seen as well, Powell noted.

To participate in the count, people can either show up at the police station at 7 a.m. to be broken into groups that will patrol five areas of the island, or they can count the birds that appear at their home feeders and call them in to Powell.

For anyone participating in the count, Powell advises to wear warm clothes, waterproof shoes or boots, and bring a pair of binoculars and a field guide.

Call Powell, at 423-1492, or Evelyn Rhodes, 423-1254, for more information.

Return to top