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Join the Christmas Bird Count hosted by Ontario Nature and Bird Studies Canada

InsideToronto.com,
Beach Mirror,
December 1 2015

The Christmas Bird Count, which runs Dec. 14 to Jan. 5, are daylong, volunteer-run bird surveys organized locally by naturalist groups.

Considered North America’s longest-running citizen science project and a crucial part of Canada’s biodiversity monitoring database, every volunteer who takes part in a count contributes to the study and conservation of birds. Scientists use these data to monitor the status of resident and migratory birds across the Western Hemisphere.

“The Christmas Bird Count is a fun tradition with an important goal – bird study and conservation,” said Anne Bell, director of conservation and education at Ontario Nature in a release. “It’s great to see expert and novice birders working together to spot as many species as possible, regardless of the weather.”

Last year, nearly 4,100 Ontarians participated in 114 Christmas Bird Counts. They recorded 178 species and 1,394,498 individual birds. Here are some highlights:

* Rare sightings included a white-eyed vireo in Toronto, a western tanager in Kingston and a Eurasian tree sparrow in Niagara Falls.

* 347 snowy owls were recorded across the province, with the highest number (48) occurring in Kingston.

* A record number of mute swans (18) and golden eagles (three) were spotted in Owen Sound.

The Christmas Bird Count are free and open to everyone regardless of age or skill lvel.

Visit the Ontario Nature (www.ontarionature.org/cbc) and Bird Studies Canada (www.bsc-eoc.org/volunteer/cbc) websites to find a count near you.

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