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Birdwatchers get ready for big count

Fifteen teams from the Whidbey Audubon Society will spread out in a 15-mile circle from Monroe Landing and Highway 20 on Saturday, Dec. 19 for the society’s 23rd annual Christmas Bird Count.

This year marks the 110th Christmas Bird Count. Sponsored by the National Audubon Society, Christmas bird counts involve more than 55,000 participants in more than 1,900 events throughout the Western Hemisphere. Count results constitute the largest and longest term data bank of information on trends in bird populations, and each year’s count results are published in a special edition of “American Birds” magazine.

On Whidbey, the teams will try to count all birds within the area from the north side of Ault Field to south of Admirals Cove.

Information from previous counts has been especially valuable in establishing population history and trends on Penn Cove waterfowl.

This year’s count will be held rain or shine. Residents of Coupeville and Oak Harbor can expect to see participants in the area with binoculars and telescopes.

Anyone is invited to participate and can ride along with an experienced team; adequate outdoor clothing is required and binoculars are helpful. To sign up for the count, call Janet Hall at 331-3634, or e-mail ilndgals@whidbey.com as soon as possible.

Whidbey Audubon Society is dedicated to the protection of wildlife species and their habitats on Whidbey Island.

For a copy of their monthly newsletter “Shorelines,” e-mail lbainbridge@uicalumni.org, or send a postcard request to PO Box 1012, Oak Harbor WA 98277.

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