The annual Christmas Bird Count is underway, and the National Audubon Society is asking volunteers to help with the census of bird populations.
Here in the Golden Belt, we are blessed with two Wetlands of International Importance, Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira Wildlife Refuge. Anyone interested in volunteering at Cheyenne Bottoms this Saturday or at Quivira on Monday should grab their binoculars and call for information. At the Bottoms, the person to contact is Curtis Wolf at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, 877-243-9268, and at QWR call Mike Rader, 785-658-2595.
The location of other counting crews across the state can be found online at www.ksbirds.org.
This will be the 114th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count, which makes it the longest-running citizen science survey in the world. It provides critical data on bird population trends.
Saturday shouldn’t be unbearably cold, and the mild weather predicted for Monday provides an excellent opportunity to take part. Those who choose to stay home can still help the birds by making some birdseed and/or water available in their backyards. Black oil sunflower seeds seem to be a particular favorite of winter birds.
As we’re so often reminded by others, local residents don’t always realize what a treasure our wetlands are. This could be a great way to learn.