‘Tis the season to count birds. Sunriver Nature Center held its annual Christmas Bird Count on Wednesday, a long-standing holiday tradition in the bird watching world.
“I’ve birded all over the world, but it’s the first time I’ve done the Christmas Bird Count here in Sunriver. I’m a new resident and I’m so excited to meet all the birders,” birder Nanci Tangeman said.
The Nature Center partners with the National Audubon Society — an organization that protects birds and habitats — every year to hold the event.
At least 80 birders visited the Nature Center on Wednesday, where they were put into separate groups before setting out in a 15-mile circle.
“We count every bird we see and work to get a positive ID. We saw a lot of nuthatch, a number of Steller’s jays, a red-tailed hawk and a few blue herons,” birder Ron Young said.
Once a bird is spotted and identified, the data collector records it on a notepad. That data is then compared with records of species seen in the area from years’ past.
“Each of the teams that are out do the same thing, and then it’s all consolidated at the end of the day,” Young said.
This year marks Audubon’s 124th Christmas Bird Count — a true holiday tradition aimed at conservation.
“I got into just because I like to watch birds, not because I’m a data person. A lot of people keep track of every single bird they see. I just like to look at them,” Tangeman said.
According to Audubon’s website, thousands of volunteers throughout the U.S. and Canada participate. Starting in 1900, the Christmas Bird Count has since spread to 20 different countries in the western hemisphere.