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Birdwatchers urged to help biologists with annual bird count

Dec 9, 2021, 2:21 PM | Updated: 2:31 pm
birdwatchers needed to count birds like this red-winged blackbird in Utah...
A red-winged blackbird can be a common site especially along waterways in Utah. Photo: Tonya Kieffer-Selby, DWR Regional Conservation Outreach Manager

VERNAL, Utah — Birdwatchers, assemble! The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources hopes you can help in an upcoming bird count at the Ouray National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Utah. 

Wildlife officials ask for birdwatchers to help count birds

The 122nd Audubon Christmas Bird Count takes place across multiple locations, 26 just in the state of Utah. But on Saturday, Dec. 18, DWR will partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Audubon Society for a bird count at the Ouray refuge, located in Uintah County. 

For each of the 26 bird counts across Utah, volunteer birdwatchers receive specific guidance. Each receives a route to drive or hike, looking and listening for birds as they go. The goal: to quantify how many birds (and species of birds) live within a 15-mile diameter circle. 

“During these annual counts, we’ve collected more than 100 years of information about birds,” said DWR Regional Conservation Outreach Manager Tonya Kieffer-Selby in a news release. “We’re using the data to assess the overall health of bird populations and to implement any conservation actions that may be needed for species survival.”

Why it matters

Kieffer-Selby noted more than 3 billion birds disappeared from North America over the last five decades, calling them environmental indicators. 

“The data we gather about our local birds provides valuable information for conservation efforts worldwide,” Kieffer-Selby said. 

Nationally, the Christmas Bird Count takes place from mid-December to mid-January. Birdwatchers can find more details about the bird counts in Utah on the Utah Birds website.

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