APPLE RIVER, Illinois — The Eagle Nature Foundation and the Conservation Guardians of Northwestern Illinois have announced the 49th Annual Jo Daviess County Christmas Bird Count has been set for Dec. 16. If bad weather should prevent the count from being conducted on that day, a blizzard date of Dec. 29 has been chosen. Most counters are in the field by at least 7:30 to 8 a.m., but some may start looking for owls before sunup, and some may continue listening for owls after dark.
This count will be part of the National Audubon Society’s 115th Annual Christmas Bird Count, which has volunteers counting birds in count circles all across North America. At one location in one day, all the birds are counted in a circle that is 15 miles in diameter. The Jo Daviess County count was started in 1966 by Terrence Ingram, who has been the compiler of this count ever since. The first count centered at Schapville was conducted by just two people in one vehicle, and they recorded 1,374 birds of 18 species. The last few years, this Schapville count has been conducted by 24 to 30 volunteers in at least six separate teams who normally document more than 40 species each year. When each of the teams have completed their part of the circle, they meet at one location for a late lunch, after which the teams compile the total birds that were seen on that day.
Anyone who would like to participate in the count should contact Grace Storch, who is the coordinator for the various teams. Her e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone who is new to birding will be placed on a team with at least one other experienced birder. It is a great way to learn the common birds that are wintering in the Jo Daviess County region.
The Audubon Annual Christmas Bird Count is a massive effort on behalf of thousands of people to document the changes in winter bird populations. A person who is interested in getting more information about the Christmas Bird Counts, including the results of past counts anywhere in the country, may go to: birds.audubon.org/Christmas-Bird-Count.
From the Dec. 10-16, 2014, issue