Christmas Bird Count to cover more land and water this year

  • By Sharon Wootton
  • Friday, November 22, 2013 2:09pm
  • Life

Walkers, bicyclists, boaters, kayakers and stay-at-home birders will participate in local Christmas Bird Counts next month.

Pilchuck Audubon Society’s Scott Atkinson is coordinating the Everett-area count. He’s excited about this year’s twist on covering the 15-mile-diameter circle.

“For the first time ever we’ll have two teams of kayakers cover the entire Snohomish River delta, the remote areas like Ebey and Steamboat sloughs,” Atkinson said.

“We’ve never had a team down there. It’s a revolutionary coverage, opening two new territories.”

The kayakers are from the North Puget Sound Kayaking Association, but they won’t be the first kayakers to work the local count. Patty Barton usually paddles her kayak around Jetty Island each year.

In addition to more than a dozen teams on foot and birders on a motorboat, at least one biker will join the count. Last year the land teams walked a total of 70 miles.

“It’s a unique science endeavor that has increasing value for acting as a barometer for regional land-use trends by showing where regional bird populations are located.

“It’s an all-volunteer effort but the effort does accurately reflect, in most cases, the population trends for birds. It’s a low-cost, cost-effective healthy entertainment right in the neighborhood.”

“Experienced birders lead the territorial parties but beginners are welcome,” said Atkinson, who has participated in CBC for 40 years.

“People know a bit more about birds than they realize,” Atkinson said.

“We’re still looking for volunteers, and most of all hoping to hear from people who have a bird feeder and simply want to count birds during the day, or walk down neighborhood streets.”

The CBC will be held Dec. 14 in the Everett area and Dec. 21 in the Edmonds area.

If you want to join in, here are the contacts:

  • Everett: Scott Atkinson, 425-210-2715, scottratkinson@hotmail.com.
  • Edmonds: Duane Karna, 425-776-5756; karnadk@comcast.net.

Set-asides: The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has approved the purchase of a 5,497-acre property 35 miles northwest of Yakima that provides prime habitat for elk, northern spotted owls, bull trout and other native species, and a 598-acre addition to the state’s Wenas Wildlife Area in Yakima County.

The properties, both situated on the eastern slope of the Cascade Range, will be managed to benefit wildlife, while also providing public access for outdoor recreation.

The commission also has an option to purchase the Nature Conservancy’s property 5,497-acre Manastash property in Yakima County, which will become part of the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area.

Celebrate: For four decades, personalized license plate sales have grown to contribute more than $2 million annually to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife program that oversees management of all species that are not hunted, fished or trapped.

Revenue from personalized license plate sales funds an array of projects within the department’s Wildlife Diversity Program centered on maintaining and restoring healthy ecosystems, recovering threatened and endangered species, conducting field surveys of wildlife and their habitats, sponsoring research projects, and acquiring valuable habitats and conservation easements that benefit all wildlife.

For more information on personalized and wildlife themed license plates, go to wdfw.wa.gov/license_plates.

Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-3964 or www.songandword.com.

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