Start the count: Area bird counting options this month
Last updated 12/17/2020 at 4:07pm
CHENEY—Dec. 14 marked the start of Audubon National Society’s 121st Annual Christmas Bird Count, when veteran and beginner bird-counters alike gather on a specified date to gather in their area and spend the day counting birds. The counting season runs to Jan. 5, as it does every year.
The closest bird counts marked on Audubon’s website this year are in Cheney and Spokane.
Cheney’s listed compiler is Sandy Schreven. She said the Cheney count is taking place Dec. 19.
“It is a bit more challenging with COVID restrictions,” Schreven said. “We aren’t able to include new volunteers as much but we have made adjustments and hope to still have a great count.”
Spokane’s count occurs Jan. 2. The compiler is Alan McCoy.
“The area includes the confluence of the Little Spokane and Spokane Rivers, Wild Rose Prairie, Peone Prairie, Dishman Hills, the South Hill, and Riverside State Park,” McCoy says on the website. “We generally start around 7:15 am and go until about 4:30 pm. Although some participants only do a half day, most like to go all day. Feeder watchers located within the circle are welcome too.”
Each count occurs within a 15-mile wide diameter circle. Both species and total birds are tallied during the count.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, each count may be restricted or cancelled at any time, Audubon’s website warns. Those interested in a count can find complier’s contact information on the Audubon website. There is no cost to participate in an Audubon bird count.
There is no online registration. Interested participants are asked to email compilers for information regarding local counts.
No other counts are scheduled for Spokane County, but Audubon’s website makes it clear that added counts are possible if they are approved in time.
Audubon collects the data from counts around the country and uses it for researching local and national birding trends, both within individual species and overall.
Those who aren’t interested in participating in a count but are still interested in bird watching can make the trek to Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, located about five miles outside the city.
Most of the refuge’s 17 species of nesting waterfowl and eight species of other waterfowl can be spotted on the five-mile Pines Auto Loop, which is accessible about two miles into the paved part of the refuge off Cheney Plaza Road.
Frequent fowl found here include Western bluebirds, redhead ducks, trumpeter swans, cinnamon teals, black terns and yellow-headed blackbirds.
This story originally appeared in the Dec. 11 issue of the Davenport Times, one of seven Free Press Publishing publications that includes the Cheney Free Press.
Drew Lawson can be reached at email@example.com.