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Audubon’s winter bird training begins Nov 14

The Weminuche Audubon Society (WAS) is gearing up for its second round of participation in The National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count (CBC).

To help local birders sharpen their identification skills, Audubon Colorado’s Becky Gillette will offer a series of informal training sessions titled “Winter Birds 101.”

This mini-course will cover the basics of identifying the 113 species on the WAS Winter Bird List that is used by CBC volunteers on Dec. 15 during the official count.

Each year since 1900, Audubon members and bird lovers across the continent have given one day of their holiday season to tally every bird they can find within predetermined count circles, contributing valuable data to bird studies worldwide.

These encouraging words to last year’s participants came from Audubon’s president and CEO David Yarnold: “The dedicated efforts of CBC participants like you enabled Audubon to compile one of the world’s most extensive databases of bird population trends. Thanks to you, we were able to document the alarming decline of some of America’s most popular common birds and to contribute to the collaborative development of a periodic Watch List that monitors the status of rare and seriously imperiled species.” WAS volunteers, as they cover the 14 zones within the Pagosa Springs count circle, will be an important part of this “citizen science” effort.

Beginners and experts are all welcome to participate in locating, identifying and counting birds within the 15-mile diameter circle, which is centered on Trujillo Road near downtown Pagosa Springs. Stay-at-home feeder-watchers within the count circle can also contribute valuable data.

For more information, or to join the count, e-mail Dottie George at dgeorge000@yahoo.com or call her at 731-5759.

The Winter Birds 101 series begins Wednesday, Nov. 14, at the Ross Aragon Community Center’s South Conference Room from 6:30-8 p.m. Subsequent sessions will meet on Nov. 28, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12.

Training session attendees are encouraged (but not required) to participate in the CBC.

For more information about Winter Birds 101, contact Becky Gillette at rgillette@audubon.org or 883-3066.

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