Copper River Record November 15, 2018
By Robin Mayo
The Kenny Lake Christmas Bird Count will be Saturday, December 22nd this year. This event is a part of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, which has been collecting data annually for over a century. Everyone is invited to participate, and no special knowledge is necessary. One of the benefits of winter birding is there are very few species in residence, so identification is far easier than in the summer months.
The Kenny Lake count is taken in a 15 mile diameter circle centered on Kenny Lake near mile 8 Edgerton Highway. You can participate by going out and looking for birds on foot, skiing, snowshoeing, or any other mode of transportation. Feeder watchers are also needed if you would rather stay inside and enjoy your birds through the window. As well as the concentrated bird count done on count day, counters are asked to note any other species they see during count week, from Wednesday December 19 through Tuesday December 25th.
If you plan to participate, it is important to contact WISE and let us know where you plan to count, so we don’t overlap and can cover as much of the area as possible. We will be sending out packets of information to past participants in late November, and information and forms will also be available on the wise website at www.wise-edu.org/christmas-bird-count.html . You can call the WISE office at 822-3575, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a beginning birder who would like to team up with an experienced counter, we may be able to help you with that as well.
Why is this important? The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is one of the longest running citizen science projects in the country, and provides a baseline of bird populations through the decades. Scientists use the information to determine the range and habitat of birds, and identify population changes. This is especially important as we try to understand the impact of global climate instability.
After counting from dawn to dusk on December 22nd, participants are invited to meet at the Kenny Lake Library to compare notes, and enjoy some hot drinks and snacks. This meeting is not mandatory, it is just a fun way to finish up the day. WISE will compile the results and return them to Audubon to be included in the national results.
Who We Are
WISEfriends are several writers connected with Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment, a nonprofit organization located in Alaska's Copper River Valley. Most of these articles originally appeared in our local newspaper, the Copper River Record.