PEI

Annual Christmas bird count rooted in tradition

The 115th annual Christmas bird count has begun on P.E.I.

2-week census began in early 1900s as a bird hunting event

The annual Christmas bird count will spot trends in bird movements and populations. (JoAnne Dunphy)
The 115th annual Christmas bird count has begun on P.E.I.

Every year, around Christmas time a two-week bird census takes place on the Island.

A large area is divided up for groups to cover. Individuals comb the countryside and count every bird they find.

People can spot trends such as population movements and fluctuations.

You don't have to be an expert bird watcher to take part said Dwaine Oakley, learning manager with wildlife conservation technology program at Holland College.

"It was a tradition that was started back in the early 1900s," said Oakley.

"Way back, the Christmas bird count used to be just an annual hunt where most people would hunt and see how many birds they could shoot in the run of a day. So way back when it was decided that it would be more of a conservation measure if we just went out and that and physically counted."

There are three more bird counts in the next two weeks which will include the Hillsborough and Montague areas.

The Bird Studies Canada website has more information on finding a group to spot birds.

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