This Sunday, December 18, bird watchers in Unalaska will turn out for the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count. Twenty-seven birders in Canada and the Lower 48 participated in the first count in 1900. This year marks the 117th Christmas Bird Count.
Melissa Cady is a wildlife biologist with the Alaska Peninsula/Becharof National Wildlife Refuge. She says this count is the longest running citizen science project in the country.
“People go out and count every bird that they can find," Cady said. "One day is selected and they count every bird they can during that day. They also record some information about their efforts -- how long they were counting or how far they drove. These data are compiled and used by biologists to look at wintertime population trends of birds across the continent.”
Each participating community picks a day between December 14 and January 5, and volunteers organize to count birds in the area.
Last year, birders in Unalaska counted 49 different species -- more than anywhere else in southwest Alaska.
To find out more about the count and brush up on your birding skills, Suzi Golodoff is holding a meeting at the library on Thursday at 7pm.