Bird counting got started as a humane alternative to competitions between hunters to see who could kill the most birds, explained Mike Klotz, organizer of the 2018 Christmas bird count in the Langleys.
It is part of a world-wide count that has been going on for about 118 years and there is still an element of competition, with participants looking to identify the most birds or to find unique species, Klotz said.
“You’ve got a lot of people looking in a lot of different corners that normally don’t get searched,” Klotz said.
For instance, there was the redhead duck, normally seen in the interior, that was spotted at Trinity Western University in Langley during a recent tally.
One of the biggest finds was three years ago, in Surrey, when someone spotted a Siberan Accentor, a bird that live in Russia and China.
“That was a massive surprise,” said Klotz, who theorizes the bird was driven off-course by a storm.
Information collected by participants over the past century and more are one of only two large pools of data about how birds of the Americas are faring over time.
This year the count will take place on Saturday, Dec. 29th.
Participants will be meeting at Ricky’s on the Langley By-Bass and Glover Road at 7:30 a.m. before starting the count at 8 a.m.
About 30 people are expected to take part.
Interested parties should email email@example.com or phone 604-861-1677.
Klotz said people who have bird feeders can also take part, by tracking the number of birds that visit and email the numbers
Christmas bird counts in the Lower Mainland are each conducted on a single day between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5.
Each one is organized by a birding club or naturalist organization.
In Langley, the count is part of the larger White Rock/Surrey/Langley count.