From the 2017 bird count in Langley. Courtesy Mike Klotz

Volunteers needed for Langley Christmas bird count

Annual event is part of 118-year-old tradition

Every year around Christmas, volunteers try to see how many birds they can count in the Langleys.

It 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 count.

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, 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.

It 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 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 mklotz@tybo.ca 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

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.

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