Aldergrove resident Herman Van der Leest was among the dozens of volunteer bird watchers who took part in the 120th annual bird count, an event that takes place throughout North America. The 120th annual bird count was conducted in Langley, as well as other areas of the Lower Mainland, on Saturday (Dec. 28).(Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Aldergrove resident Herman Van der Leest was among the dozens of volunteer bird watchers who took part in the 120th annual bird count, an event that takes place throughout North America. The 120th annual bird count was conducted in Langley, as well as other areas of the Lower Mainland, on Saturday (Dec. 28).(Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Drier weather produces larger numbers for 120th annual bird count in Langley

No exotic species spotted, however

As volunteer bird counters formed themselves into teams over early-morning coffee at a local restaurant on Saturday (Dec. 28), one of the organizers, John Gordon, had a request

“If anyone sees a snow owl, let us know,” Gordon said.

He was referring to an especially rare species of bird that had been spotted, and photographed, during a previous count.

READ MORE: Rare bird spotted in Langley

Snowy owls usually make their homes north of 60° latitude in the Arctic tundra, in Alaska, the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Eurasia, but one somehow made ts way south to Langley.

This year, there were no such exotic species to be seen, but there were a lot more of every other kind, thanks to the drier weather.

READ MORE: VIDEO: A very wet Langley Christmas bird count

Organizer Mike Klotz said just over 7,800 birds were observed and 65 species tallies, up from the previous year’s rain-soaked survey, when just under 5,200 birds were counted and only 52 species, well below the average of 6,000 to 7,000.

“A pretty decent year,” is how Klotz summed it up to the Langley Advance Times.

The count is an early-winter bird census by the National Audubon Society, conducted with the help of more than 70,000 volunteers across Canada, the U.S. and many other countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Information collected by participants over the past century are one of only two large pools of data about how birds of the Americas are faring over time.

READ MORE: Birders brave the cold for annual Christmas count

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.

More photos from the Langley count can be viewed online.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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Bird count organizer John Gordon captured this image near Maxwell Crescent in Milner of an American Kestrel. The 120th annual bird count was conducted in Langley, as well as other areas of the Lower Mainland, on Saturday (Dec. 28).(John Gordon/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Bird count organizer John Gordon captured this image near Maxwell Crescent in Milner of an American Kestrel. The 120th annual bird count was conducted in Langley, as well as other areas of the Lower Mainland, on Saturday (Dec. 28).(John Gordon/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Joanne Rosenthal and Bob Puls tally birds. The 120th annual bird count was conducted in Langley, as well as other areas of the Lower Mainland, on Saturday (Dec. 28).(Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Joanne Rosenthal and Bob Puls tally birds. The 120th annual bird count was conducted in Langley, as well as other areas of the Lower Mainland, on Saturday (Dec. 28).(Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

An eagle surveys the intersection of Glover Road and Crush Crescent. The 120th annual bird count was conducted in Langley, as well as other areas of the Lower Mainland, on Saturday (Dec. 28).(Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

An eagle surveys the intersection of Glover Road and Crush Crescent. The 120th annual bird count was conducted in Langley, as well as other areas of the Lower Mainland, on Saturday (Dec. 28).(Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)