Local bird enthusiasts will take to the roads and woods during the 30th annual Elkins Area Christmas Bird Count on Tuesday, January 3, 2012. This event gives birders a chance to get together and have a good time while gathering information on bird diversity and abundance in the area.  Participants will meet at 8 a.m. at the Division of Natural Resources Operations Center on Ward Road in Elkins. Both novice and experienced bird watchers are invited to take part.

The Elkins area count is just one of hundreds of Christmas Bird Counts that occur around the country this time of year. The aim is to tally all birds observed within a 7.5-mile radius of a given point. Over time, these annual counts can reveal trends in populations of various avian species.

On the morning of January 3, birders will be grouped into teams of 2-3 observers, and assigned specific routes to survey.  If you live in or near Elkins, you can participate by just tallying the birds in your yard by species and reporting that information.

Anyone interested in participating in this year’s Christmas Bird Count should contact Rich Bailey of the WVDNR at richard.s.bailey@wv.gov or WVDNR, P.O. Box 67, Elkins, WV; 304-637-0245.

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