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Rinda Metz

Photo: Rinda Metz, preparing for the 113th Annual Christmas Bird Count

There are two local Audubon Christmas Bird counts in Grant County.  The first one is in Silver City on Saturday, December 15th, and the second on the Gila River on Saturday, December 29th. On these dates expect to see small groups of birders out and about with their binoculars spying out the locations of birds in these areas.  The count is conducted in a 15 mile wide circle which centers on the golf course for the Silver City count and Riverside, near Cliff, for the Gila River count.

Birders and bird enthusiasts of all skill levels are encouraged to participate.  Participation includes going out looking for birds or sitting in the comfort of your home looking out the window at the birds that come to your yard.  The Silver City count is in particular need of the Feeder Watchers.

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is the largest citizen science surveying program in the world, and also the longest running. This is the 113th anniversary.  Data gathered during the count is used to track changes in populations and ranges. For instance data collected by participants in past Silver City CBC’s show that the first appearance of the White-winged Dove was 1994 and the Eurasian Collared Dove was 2002. Now they are common birds in the area.Researchers have used data from all the New Mexico CBC’s to demonstrate that global warming is affecting the winter range of many bird species. Ranges of over 40 species are extending northward.

The Silver City Count is organized by Karen Beckenbach.  If you are interested or have questions about this count please feel free to contact her at 575-388-2386 or by e-mail kbeck@signalpeak.net

The Gila River Count is being organized by Roland Shook. Since most of the land is private, Roland obtains permission from landowners to carry out this survey. If you have questions or are interested in participating in the Gila River Count contact him at 575-388-3441.

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