Skip to main content

losing ground

Counters track bird populations

, The Hamilton Spectator,
(Dec 24, 2008)

Hamilton bird watchers will cover a little less ground during the annual Christmas Bird Count Dec. 26.

The birders, participating in the local count for the Hamilton Naturalists Club (HNC), walked 198 kilometres last year to tally 64,054 birds.

But Tom Thomas, the HNC's count co-ordinator, says the counters may cover less distance this year. "Urban sprawl" -- subdivision and road construction within the designated 24-kilometre radius for the count centred on Dundurn Castle -- has steadily reduced grasslands, fields and habitat.

"The owlers (those who count owls) have a tough time hearing the birds because of traffic," Thomas says.

Nevertheless, he expects 70 or 80 counters to turn out for the species count on Boxing Day for the challenge of finding birds, a walk in the fresh air and a love of the environment in the field.

Begun in 1921, the Hamilton count is part of the 109th annual count for naturalists across the continent. The annual one-day count is done between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5.

Forty Ontario Nature member groups will participate across the province this year.

The event began in New York in 1900 when ornithologist Frank Chapman, editor of Bird-Lore magazine, suggested naturalists count birds Christmas Day instead of gathering and shooting them, which had been the prevailing tradition. The idea took hold instantly.

Today there are more than 2,000 individual counts scheduled throughout North America. The data collected has been invaluable for the study of species risk and is used by biologists around the world to monitor the populations of North American birds.

Thomas notes the Hamilton count has been seeing record numbers of common garden and woodland species. They've noticed warblers "staying over" as temperatures during winter have warmed.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Turtle Trouble on World Turtle Day

A new virus infecting the local turtle population, road mortality as cars and trucks continue their shell-crushing trips down Cootes Drive.

Yes, it's WORLD TURTLE DAYand things are admittedly pretty bad for our slow-moving reptile friends.

That means it's time to make some changes!
Why not start with things we can easily control, like our own behaviour. Driving along Cootes?

Pledge now to use an alternate route
(click on the link above to take the pledge!)
A minute or two will save lives!





Coldspring Valley History Hike: Water Innovation Week

We're heading back out to share the history of this former floodplain/nature sanctuary, and take a look at the rehabilitated future of this contested site in McMaster's west campus. Can we really depave Paradise? It's happening!

Register on Eventbrite: http://bit.ly/waterweekwalk2017 (by donation)




History Hike in West Campus Tuesday, September 11 at 2pm

We're going on a hike to introduce McMaster students (and any other interested participants) to this former RBG Coldspring Valley Nature Sanctuary and coldwater creek floodplain  - currently a parking lot - to examine the past, present and future of this place that is undergoing an important ecological transformation.
Tour Leaders Dan Coleman (English Professor and author of Yardwork: A Biography of an Urban Place)Randy Kay (Restore Cootes)Judy Major-Girardin (School of the Arts)