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Sat, Jan. 18

Birders stroll out for Christmas bird count

From left to right: DeeDee DeLorenzo, Kristin Hewlett, Rus Hall and Robert Johnson look for birds. Hewlett (who is visiting from Indiana) keeps tracks of birds sighted with a chart. Johnson is from Bullhead City and Hall is visiting from Alberta.

From left to right: DeeDee DeLorenzo, Kristin Hewlett, Rus Hall and Robert Johnson look for birds. Hewlett (who is visiting from Indiana) keeps tracks of birds sighted with a chart. Johnson is from Bullhead City and Hall is visiting from Alberta.

LAKE HAVASU CITY - Every year around the end of December, an army of volunteers takes to the hills, fields, forests and wetlands of the United States with a single purpose in mind: count birds!

Sponsored by the National Audubon Society, the "Christmas Bird Count" is in its 111th year, making it the longest-running wildlife census. Volunteers set out on a specific day to count every bird species and individual they see within a designated area

The resulting information gives scientists a look at bird populations, trends and distribution. Audubon and other organizations use the data collected in this census to assess the health of bird populations and to help guide conservation action.

In the tri-state area, two bird counts occurred this year: at Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge south of Lake Havasu City and, to its north, Havasu National Wildlife Refuge.

DeeDee DeLorenzo was the event coordinator, with help from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She is a retired schoolteacher with a passion for nature and a volunteer with the USFWS since the early 1980s. Seventy-four volunteers also participated.

Local bird count groups assigned volunteers into teams, usually headed by an experienced birder. A tally sheet is kept of each species and individual bird seen during the pre-determined route. People traveled by car, foot, boat or kayak, counting birds as they went.

At the end of the day, volunteers gathered together to share stories and provided their team's results.

On Dec. 28, volunteers surveyed Bill Williams NWR, tallying a total of 111 species.

On Dec. 29, at least 114 species were observed at Havasu NWR. Many birds (and a few other animals) were seen through the day. Some of the more notable species included Peregrine Falcons, Tundra Swans, Eastern Phoebes, Golden-Crowned Sparrows and Broad-Winged Hawks. The Christmas Bird Count will occur again next year. For more information, contact DeLorenzo at (928) 758-2707 or email poncho@citlink.net.

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