Feeding birds in the winter can sometimes turn up surprises like this female Rose-breasted Grosbeak, spotted during a count in Walnut Grove, a very rare find for the Metro Vancouver area. Organizers of the annual bird count on Thursday, Dec. 29, are asking people with backyard feeders to add their numbers to the tally. (John Gordon/contributed photo)

Feeding birds in the winter can sometimes turn up surprises like this female Rose-breasted Grosbeak, spotted during a count in Walnut Grove, a very rare find for the Metro Vancouver area. Organizers of the annual bird count on Thursday, Dec. 29, are asking people with backyard feeders to add their numbers to the tally. (John Gordon/contributed photo)

Backyard bird counters from Langley, Surrey and White Rock will be busy Dec. 29

No pandemic restrictions this time for annual bird count

Organizers of this year’s annual bird count in Langley, Surrey and White Rock are looking forward to operating without pandemic restrictions.

“It’s going to be back to normal,” said Langley photographer John Gordon.

Anyone who is interested in taking part in tomorrow’s (Dec. 29) count can just show up at the McDonald’s restaurant at Fraser Highway and 216th Street at 7:30 a.m.

Proper wet and cold weather gear, especially winter boots with good traction, are essential, but previous experience is not.

Novices will be paired up with long-time counters like Gordon, who said another plus will be the ability, once again, to resume ride-sharing to different counting area, rather than having to coordinate multiple vehicles in order to observe social distancing requirements.

“We like to carpool,” Gordon explained, ” because we are environmentally sensitive.”

Anyone who wants to wear masks is welcome to, but they are not required, he added.

READ ALSO: Keeping a careful distance, participants prepare for 121st annual bird count in Langley

Last year, turnout was at a bare minimum, thanks to the strictures of COVID-19 and frigid weather conditions, with just 12 people taking part, a fraction of the typical turnout of 30 to 40, and just enough to cover the different count areas.

This year, backyard bird counters are being encouraged to participate.

Photographer John Gordon captured this image of a Northern Flicker during a previous Christmas Bird Count. (file photo)

Photographer John Gordon captured this image of a Northern Flicker during a previous Christmas Bird Count. (file photo)

“Every year more people are feeding birds in their back yards where our field observers are unable to count them, so we are inviting those people to call us on the day of the Count with the numbers of birds seen at some point during the day,” said organizer Gareth Pugh.

“We would be happy to provide free identification guides to anyone who would like them or ask one of our observers to visit you to help with identification,” Pugh added.

READ ALSO: Fewer birds, and some surprises, during the annual White Rock/Surrey/Langley bird count

To provide backayrd numbers, call Gareth Pugh at 604-649-1027, John Gordon at 604-533-7171 or Mike Klotz at 604-861-1677, or e-mail gareth@intergate.ca for more information.

The count is an early-winter bird census by the National Audubon Society, conducted with the help of more than 70,000 volunteers across Canada, the U.S. and many other countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Christmas bird counts began in 1900, when a group of concerned natural historians felt it was better to count living birds than try to shoot as many as possible in a day.

Cold weather gear is a must for the annual bird count, as this 2017 photo of participants shows. (contributed photo)

Cold weather gear is a must for the annual bird count, as this 2017 photo of participants shows. (contributed photo)

Information collected by participants over the past century are one of only two large pools of data about how birds of the Americas have been faring over time.

In 1962, the first count was carried out in the Surrey municipality with 17 observers.

This year’s fifth annual Christmas Bird Count for Kids and Youth will be hosted by Explore Science on Saturday, Dec. 31. Participants walk the area of Brydon Lagoon starting at 9 a.m.

It is free but requires advance registration online at explorescienceclub.com. or by emailinglearn@explorescienceclub.com.


Have a story tip? Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

birdsCloverdaleLangleySurreyWhite Rock

Be Among The First To Know

Create a free account today, and start receiving free newsletters.

Sign Up with google Sign Up with facebook

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Reset your password

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

A link has been emailed to you - check your inbox.



Don't have an account? Click here to sign up