Langley bird count organizer Mike Klotz and volunteer Devon Comstock were looking for species of birds in Milner on Saturday. Black Press photo Langley bird count organizer Mike Klotz and volunteer Devon Comstock were looking for species of birds in Milner on Saturday. Black Press photo

VIDEO: Weather hampers Langley Christmas bird count

Early-winter bird census part of 118-year-old tradition run by the National Audubon Society

Threatening weather is believed to be the reason for the reduced turnout for the 2018 Christmas bird count in Langley.

“I think I had 10 people cancel last night,” said organizer Mike Klotz, as volunteers gathered Saturday morning at a Ricky’s Restaurant.

“We had several people beg off because of the rain.”

About 16 people showed up to carry out a tally of birds within several areas of Langley, dividing up into teams to survey specific neighbourhoods.

Among those who chose to brave the inclement conditions was Anthea Farr, who was planning to search for birds on a flood plain.

“We’ve all got tall rubber boots, because there’s a lot of water on the trail,” Farr said.

“I’ve been birding for a couple of years and I thought it was time I met some other birders,” first-timer Colin Rankin said.

“I like to hang out with like-minded people.”

This has been a good year for bird-watching, thanks to the cold winter that drove many species south ins search of food, explained wildlife photographer John Gordon, a count regular.

“A really good year is 250 species [spotted in a single year],” Gordon said.

“I’m up to 244 and one young person has seen 270, just in Metro Vancouver.”

Part of a world-wide count that has been going on for about 118 years, the count has a competitive element, with participants looking to identify the most birds or to find unique species.

“We’re very territorial and competitive,” said volunteer Tom Wildboer, laughing.

There are rules of engagement, participant Anne Gosse said, when it comes to carrying out a count on the boundary with another team’s territory.

“We try not to poach on the other groups:” she said.

“We like to say, don’t look at the other side.”

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants head coach records 200th win with 3-2 victory in Kelowna

Michal Kvasnica and David Tendeck named stars of the game

Sun will be visible Monday in Langley – briefly

Breaks in the clouds expected before a return to rain for the week

LETTER: Questioning if some councillors should step back from big decisions – pending court outcome

With tax rate being set, one letter writer argues if some council members should refrain from voting

LETTER: Different taxation system necessary

Langley Township taxpayer argues that taxes shouldn’t be based on assessed home values

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Kobe Bryant’s helicopter flew in fog that grounded other choppers

The cause of the crash that killed Bryant, his daughter and several others was unknown

Victoria-area wolf tranquilized after being seen running around neighbourhood

Officials say wolf unharmed during its ‘arrest’

Ontario confirms second presumptive coronavirus case in wife of first patient

Both arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

Man clings to roof of car driving along busy road in Maple Ridge

The man was also seen jumping on the vehicle

Most Read