Learn about our local feathered friends from experienced birders at the Cortez Christmas Bird Count Dec. 28.
The all-day or half day carpool tours begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Cortez Cultural Center, 25 N. Market St.
Participants will be divided into groups to survey areas of Montezuma County and Cortez.
Participants should bring binoculars, birding guides, warm clothing, snacks and drinks.
“We welcome beginner birders and pair them up with more experienced birders. It is a great chance to learn,” said organizer Carolyn Gunn.
Winter bird counts happen all over the country. The results are submitted to the Audubon Society database and are analyzed to improve conservation efforts for bird species and their habitat. There were 51 Christmas Bird Counts in Colorado last winter.
The local Christmas Bird Count records birds in a 15-mile radius of Cortez, including local orchards, lakes, open space, neighborhoods, forests and farmlands.
Winter birds often seen are ferruginous and rough-legged hawks, which migrate to the area from the north in the winter.
Other frequent sightings are great horned owls, wild turkeys, great blue herons, bald and golden eagles, red-tail hawks, waterfowl, jays, bluebirds, kingfishers, American kestrel, woodpeckers, falcons, wrens and many more.
Unusual for Colorado in winter are green-tailed Towhees, but one was spotted in Cortez and in Durango during last year’s Christmas counts.
Christmas bird counts are a form of citizens’ science, in which amateur naturalists and experts help contribute to a nationwide database. The count is the nation’s longest-running community science bird project.
“Bird counts reminds us of the importance of conservation, and that it’s becoming more important as the human population grows,” Gunn said.
For questions, email Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 565-1151 ext. 14.
For information on birding and to view historical bird counts in the Cortez region and elsewhere, visit Audubon.org.