Volunteers set for South Surrey/White Rock bird count

Across Canada, thousands take part in annual Christmas Bird Count

Thousands of volunteers across Canada – and throughout South Surrey/White Rock – will be counting birds until Jan. 5 as part of the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count.

Volunteers from every Canadian province and territory, all 50 of the United States, parts of Central and South America, Bermuda, the West Indies, and Pacific Islands, will brave winter weather to participate in the world’s longest-running wildlife census, begun in 1900.

Beginning last Friday, participants are counting and recording every individual bird and bird species seen in a specified area, accumulating information about the winter distributions of various birds.

To participate in this year’s count – set for Dec. 30 in South Surrey/White Rock – or for more information, visit www.birdscanada.org/volunteer/cbc

“Because of the duration of the counts the data collected over the years has become most valuable to scientists as a tool used to analyze population trends in birds,” said Viveka Ohman, a South Surrey resident and co-ordinator of the count on the Peninsula.

The many decades of data not only help identify birds in need of conservation action, but also reveal success stories. The Christmas Bird Count helped document the comeback of the bald eagle and significant increases in waterfowl populations, both the result of conservation efforts.

Last year’s count shattered records in Canada with a total of 412 counts involving more than 12,000 participants. In all, Canadian volunteers logged 3.9 million birds of 303 species.