An annual bird count takes place all across Central and North America in a specific window of time. Delta Beach's Cal Cuthbert is heavily involved and explains that it begins about a month from now, and explains how it works.

"It takes place from December 14th, I believe it is, to the first week of January," says Cuthbert. "The Portage la Prairie count will be on Sunday, December 17th. The Delta March/Portage Plains Christmas bird count this year will be bumped up to December 14th, which is the first official count day that we can have for the Christmas bird counts."

Cuthbert notes the area of any given count that you can make is in seven-and-a-half-mile radius circles.

"The Delta Marsh/Portage Plains count has been taking place now for about 49 years," continues Cuthbert. "How these counts work is that we have several parties involved. We divide the count area. I think it comes to about 144 square miles into several seven-and-a-half-mile radii. Depending on the number of participants, we just divide the area up into segments with the party leader for each of those segments that come with their respective parts of the circle."

At the end of the day, the results are compiled and submitted to the Audubon Society. Cuthbert notes the information is available as data for scientists, interested birders, or whoever would like to get that information.

"The information, itself, is a snapshot of how the birds are doing in a specific area at a specific period," adds Cuthbert. "There is a lot of good information coming from these counts. By the way, it's certainly not working. They're a lot of fun. You get out to drive around and see your county area and meet some people; the feeder watchers and field participants."

Cuthbert says it's a great time overall. 

For more information, check out the Christmas Bird Count website here.


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