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Let the birding begin

Annual Christmas Bird Count starts this week across nation

Birders across the state are gearing up to participate in the Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count, which started Monday morning and continues through Jan. 5.

Back for its 121st installment, the event encourages people to keep track of the bird species seen within a specific time frame and location to be logged into a database for scientists all across the world to look at.

While the national event is three weeks long, local communities and Audubon Society chapters select one day within that time frame to collect their data.

Albert Lea’s Audubon Society’s bird count day is scheduled for Saturday, and Mike Majeski, Albert Lea’s count manager and compiler, said he is eager to have more people sign up for the count.

“There’s probably 85 to 90 Christmas Bird Count circles in the state, and I think every compiler out there would love to have more volunteers to help count the species,” Majeski said. “A lot of these rural counts, and primarily in southern Minnesota, we’re lucky to have five to seven volunteers for the entire 15-mile radius. We’re always looking for more volunteers to help out with counts.”

To sign up to be a volunteer and be a part of the Albert Lea count, contact Majeski at mmajeski@eorinc.com or the state compiler, Steve Weston, at the Minnesota Ornithologist website and he can direct interested birders to their nearest count location.

Majeski said the group encourages people to go out to public lands to do their birding, but many people choose to participate from their car.

“A lot of the birding is done by car,” Majeski said. “Of course you can drive residential streets and county roads, stopping to look for birds, but people are welcome to get out into state property and hike around as well. It can be an hour at a time. It can be whatever time they can allot for.”

Majeski also said there are feeder counters who track the species they see at their feeders at home and submit that data. He said bird watching from cars in residential neighborhoods has set off some red flags for residents before, but they try and make themselves and what they are

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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