Fun and science fly together during annual bird count

Saanich event contributes to national Christmas Bird Count for Kids

Rick Stiebel

News Staff

At the risk of ruffling the feathers of organizers of other activities, Beckwith Park is the place to flock to for an event where science and fun take flight together.

The Christmas Bird Count for Kids (CBC4Kids) is a fun way to get some fresh air, a little easy exercise and contribute to one of the longest-running citizen’s science projects in North America, said Andrea Neumann, the event’s co-ordinator.

Neumann has conducted a little research on the subject in her role as lead educator for the Rocky Point Bird Observatory and noted that the first Christmas bird count took place in 1900 and involved about 30 people.

“It’s really exciting from my perspective to get kids involved in something that’s been going on for more than a century,” Neumann said. “We have a great group of bird walk leaders and volunteers who cater the walk to particular age groups. We try to make the event accessible and flexible to everyone from pre-schoolers to teens, regardless of whether they have a history of birding or not.”

The event, sponsored by Rocky Point Bird Observatory and the Victoria Natural History Society, is not only a lot of fun, but it has scientific importance as well, Neumann explained. “Doing it at the same location year after year helps gather valuable data on long-term population trends.”

READ ALSO: Victoria owl tangled in net for two days faces long road to recovery

The duck pond turned out to be a major highlight for the 30 kids who took part in last year’s event. “There were about 80 mallards in the pond and one solitary Wood Duck, which is much more colourful,” said Neumann, who has worked at Rocky Point Bird Observatory for four years, following a year of volunteering. “Having one solitary duck stand out like that was a great way to engage the young kids. It’s all about doing a little science and having fun at the same time.”

The CBC4Kids takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14 at Beckwith Park in Saanich. There is plenty of parking available and trails are stroller accessible.

Another great way to support the work at RPBO is through the Adopt-A-Bird Campaign. Participants will receive a colour picture of the adopted species that was banded, a certificate with details on the bird’s age, sex, weight, wing length, and unique band number.

Information on the history, range and habits of the species are included as well. If a particular feathered friend is recaptured, RPBO will contact the adoptor with details on the recovery so they can track its progress.

For more information, fly over to rpbo.org/adoptabird.php#rpbo.


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