Rydell & Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge Host 6th Annual Christmas Bird Count

Rydell & Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge Host 6th Annual Christmas Bird Count

December 11, 2020 News -- KRJB-KRJM-KKCQ 0

By Mark Askelson markkrjb@loretel.net (12/11/20)

Erskine, MN — Rydell and Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuges will be hosting their 6th Annual Christmas Bird Count on Thursday, December 17th. This public event is administered by the National Audubon Society and is the longest running citizen science bird project in the U.S. This year will mark the 121st year of the Christmas Bird Count, according to Rydell & Glacial Ridge Refuge Manager Gregg Knutsen.

Counts are held in designated areas throughout the U.S. between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5 each year. Last year, counts were completed in over 2,500 locations, including Canada and Latin America. Over 75,000 people participated in the counts and over 50 million birds were tallied! Information from the count provides important information on winter ranges of birds, population trends, and how a changing climate alters winter bird distribution.

People have observed 50 different bird species on the Rydell/Glacial Ridge Count Circle over the past five years. The 15-mile diameter count circle stretches from Erskine west to the center of Glacial Ridge Refuge.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Refuge staff will have to run this count in a much different hands-off fashion than we have the last five years. This year, participants will count independently, versus pairing up with Refuge staff and volunteers in past years, according to Knutsen.

People interested in participating do not need to be expert birders. This event can serve as a great learning experience for beginning birders. Binoculars and a bird book are the only required equipment. Participants can count from a vehicle or on foot, depending on their preference and the weather conditions that day. People who live within the Rydell/Glacial Ridge Count Circle can even participate by reporting bird sightings at feeders from the comfort of their own home. If you’re interested in participating in the count, a map of the count circle location and a data form will be emailed to you. The count coordinator will communicate with you to see what additional resources you might need (such as a list of birds seen on previous Rydell/Glacial Ridge counts, or links to online bird identification sites) and determine what part of the count circle you will focus your efforts on.

Please RSVP no later than December 15th by calling Gregg Knutsen at 218-686-4329 or emailing at gregg_knutsen@fws.gov. Gregg can also be contacted if you have any questions about the count, including whether your residence lies within the count circle.