By Jean Zirnhelt
Weminuche Audubon Society
Participation in Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count has become an annual tradition in Pagosa Springs and this year will not be an exception. Members of the local Weminuche Audubon Society chapter are busy planning for a safe and fun count of our winter birds on Dec. 19.
Volunteers will count and record all of the birds that they see within one of eight zones in the Pagosa Springs count circle. The 15-mile-diameter circle is centered on Trujillo Road near downtown Pagosa Springs. Areas covered include town, about 6 miles east, most of Pagosa Lakes including Meadows subdivisions, Alpha, Timber Ridge, Mill Creek and Holiday Acres areas, Snowball, Cemetery and the first part of Fourmile roads, Loma Linda, west to Elk Park, south to the Lower Blanco area, Trujillo Road to Burns Canyon and more. It’s a lot of ground to cover in one day.
If you live within the count circle and prefer to participate by counting birds at your feeders, you can do so in the comfort of your home. We will provide forms and instructions for adding your feeder count to our data.
Following protocols of the National Audubon Society and the state of Colorado, we will not be carpooling as we have done in the past. All in-person gatherings will be done outside with masks and social distancing. Some years, we have worn masks anyway just to keep our faces warm. Zone leaders will do advance scouting to designate rendezvous points good for spotting birds. We hope that you will join us in this important endeavor.
In preparation for the count, we will again host our bird identification classes, Birding 101, presented by Keith Bruno and Randy McCormick. Winter waterfowl, the first of three classes, will take place via Zoom on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 6:30 p.m. Look for the Zoom link on the events tab of our website, www.weminucheaudubon.org. This is an opportunity to hone your identification skills in time to practice on area lakes before the count.
For further information on the Christmas Bird Count and to sign up as a volunteer, email us at email@example.com. We welcome participation from all community members; you don’t need to be an experienced birder. We need your help to make the count a success.