Naturehood Winter Activities
Early on January 2, intrepid members of the PECI environment club (and a parent) joined Mark Read, Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory’s NatureHood Coordinator to do a “Kids’ Christmas Bird Count”.
Like the traditional Christmas Bird Count, the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) for Kids gathers birdwatchers for a bird count, and provides valuable winter bird population data for bird conservation. To prepare the new birders for an enjoyable counting experience Mark visited Prince Edward Collegiate before Christmas and led a binocular basics and bird identification workshop. Unlike the traditional Christmas Bird Count where enthusiastic participants spend the whole day counting and then meet for a, sometimes raucous, “species seen” round up, the Kids’ CBC usually lasts only a few hours and is focussed on introducing young people to bird watching and counting. The results of today’s count will be submitted to eBird Canada and shared with the CBC4Kids National Database.
The PEPtBO NatureHood program is funded through Nature Canada with a grant from Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service. NatureHood promotes nature awareness at the local level and exposes a new generation of naturalists and citizen scientists to nature all around them. “With PEPtBO’s location in the Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area and as caretakers of the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird and Biodiversity Area, we have a unique opportunity to educate people of all ages about birds and their importance to eco-system health” says Cheryl Anderson PEPtBO president. “The NatureHood program has allowed us to introduce more County and regional residents and students to nature”. In addition to the CBC4Kids, in the fall Mark led several school classroom visits to the Bird Observatory. The students experienced the migration monitoring activities of the Bird Observatory and were led through a bird identification workshop called “What’s that Bird?”. Over the winter bird feeders have been installed outside local classrooms and the classes enrolled in Bird Studies Canada’s FeederWatch program. FeederWatchers count the kinds and numbers of birds at their feeders at regular intervals, and then submit their observations to Bird Studies Canada through an online portal. The information helps scientists study winter bird populations and the students learn to identify more bird species and how to be citizen scientists.