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Christmas bird count a success

The Weminuche Audubon Society held its first annual Christmas Bird Count Monday, Jan. 2.

The count was a success, with 49 volunteers counting birds in all 14 zones in and around Pagosa Springs.

Fifty-seven resident winter bird species were identified, with a total of 2,667 birds counted.

The day was spectacular: clear skies, no wind and warm temperatures made for a perfect day of birding. Nine experts joined the count and helped to ensure that sightings were accurate.

CBC results from around the North American Continent are compiled online at Audubon’s website, and strategic conservation plans to protect birds and their habitat are derived from these bird counts. Accuracy is essential.

Some of the more interesting birds seen were several Bald and Golden eagles and Osprey. A Horned Lark was seen, an uncommon bird to see as well as a favorite of many, 103 wild turkeys. Seven local residents participated in the day’s count by counting birds seen at their bird feeders.

For more information about the annual Weminuche Audubon Christmas Bird Count, and to see all the details of this year’s count, go to www.weminucheaudubon.org. Click on the Christmas Bird Count link.

The Christmas Bird Count is free and open to any birder regardless of one’s abilities. Those new to birding are paired with those more experienced. We will be looking for more experts next winter to help count in all 14 zones. A series of free winter bird identification trainings will be offered again before the next count along with online self-training available at the Weminuche Audubon website.

The Weminuche Audubon Society would like to thank the following volunteers for helping make this year’s CBC count a success: Beverly Compton (CBC volunteer coordinator), Richard Compton (GIS mapping), Laura Dollar (webpage design), Brinley Davis (distribution of posters) and Mike Ward for taking care of the details of the dinner the evening of the count. A special thank you to those at Higher Grounds Coffee for hosting all of us at their coffee shop the morning of the count.

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