Bird counting topic of Audubon meeting tonight

John Bregar is a long-standing birder and member of the Durango Bird Club. Tonight, he will enlighten members and friends of the Weminuche Audubon Society with a program entitled, “Counting Birds and Citizen Science.”

A retired geologist/geophysicist, Bregar left the petroleum industry four years ago and now divides his time between avid birding, studying native plants, mountain climbing, and guiding backcountry trips for Seniors Outdoors and the San Juan Chapter of the Colorado Mountain Club.

Local bird counts are vital to understanding the health and well-being of resident and migratory birds. Because the onset of subtle environmental ailments are often difficult to detect, the ability to recognize fluctuating avian populations serves as an early indication of broader environmental concerns. By closely observing birds, both common and rare, communities can monitor their true status, while making better-informed decisions regarding environmental protection and preservation, versus human sprawl.

In 32 years of active birding, Bregar has counted all manner of birds. Throughout, he has discovered myriad techniques that reduce confusion and aid overwhelmed counters. During tonight’s discussion, he will share his methodology and allow time for attendees to learn and practice it.

Because the Weminuche chapter intends to partake in this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count and the Christmas Bird Count, a basic grasp of fundamental techniques will serve counters well.

Of course, participants need not be members of Audubon or the Weminuche chapter to be involved, nor must those interested in attending tonight’s presentation be members. In fact, all Audubon meetings and events are free of charge and open to the public.

Tonight’s two-hour event is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. Refreshments will be served.

For more information on tonight’s program, or upcoming chapter events, contact Weminuche Audubon Society President Susan Halabrin at 749-6143.