By BEN JOHNSTON | Kickapoo Valley Reserve
The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) once again is coming to the Kickapoo Valley. This is the 120th Christmas Bird count.
For the CBC, volunteers tally (i.e., count) individual birds, by species, on the designated count day (all 24 hours). Observations must be within the official Count Circle, a 15-mile diameter survey area. In our area, there are two circles; one is centered at the intersection of County Highway T and Highway 131 (“Kickapoo Valley Circle”), and one is centered in La Farge (“La Farge Circle”). The Kickapoo Valley Count Day is Saturday, Dec. 21; the La Farge Circle Count Day is Saturday, Dec. 28.
Here are ways you can participate:
• Stock your bird feeders. It is amazing the number of empty feeders we see during the count.
• Count birds at your feeder if your feeder is within the circle. Otherwise, visit someone who feeds birds and lives in the circle.
• Participate in field surveys, solo or with others. We drive the area, counting birds. Many of our observations are at home feeders (see No. 1). Foot and river surveys are also an option.
• Listen for owls during the dark hours from your home if you live in the circle; otherwise, visit someone who does. Road surveys can also be conducted.
Remain calm if you see a car of birders with binoculars pointed at your house. They are only counting the birds around your house.
In the end, if you are interested in participating this year or if you know anyone interested, you can contact me at [email protected] or (608) 625-2960 to sign up, or visit Audubon Christmas Bird Count website for more information.