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This year marks the 75th Eugene Christmas Bird Count (ECBC) and the 117th National Audubon Society (NAS) Christmas Bird Count. This year’s ECBC will be on Sunday, January 1, 2017. Our 15-mile-diameter count circle is centered in the Danebo area of Eugene and is divided into 27 areas, each with a Team Leader. The Team Leaders organize the teams, lead the groups through the area during the count day, and then submit the results to the ECBC Steering Committee.
Dick Lamster is the Count Coordinator, and he will work with NAS on the administrative tasks of the count. He will also coordinate with the Team Leaders, handle publicity, co-write the post-count narrative, and assign new participants to teams. If you want to participate this year or change teams, call or email Dick. Otherwise, call your Team Leader from last year (although he or she might be calling you soon).
Dan Gleason will accept the bird checklists from the Team Leaders at the end of the count, hopefully at the chili feed. He will review rare and unusual bird sightings and then submit all the results to NAS. Dan will also work with Dick to prepare the post-count narrative.
If you cannot participate on a count team but would like to count the birds that visit your yard, please call Herb Wisner at 541.344.3634. Herb is in charge of the Home Counters and will assist you in recording the birds you see and including them in the official count. He will send you a form to help you record birds, coordinate your sightings with the leader of the count area you live in so that birds are not reported twice, and submit your sightings to Dan to be included in the official results. Please call Herb by December 28th if you would like to be a Home Counter.
All Team Leaders and count participants are invited to gather after the count at the Eugene Garden Club, 1645 High Street, for the traditional chili feed. Allison Mickel, assisted by Sandy Poinsett and Kathy Wilson, will once again provide her homemade vegetarian chili for this fun ending to a day full of birding. We will tally results and swap stories of the day’s sightings. The door to the Garden Club will open around 3:30 p.m., so you can stop by as soon as you finish your count. The free chili feed will begin around 5:00 p.m. Lane County Audubon Society will furnish the chili along with salad, dinner rolls, chips, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Please bring your own table service, including plate, bowl, cup, and silverware. If you would like to drink something other than what we provide, bring that too. I really encourage you to join us for this delicious ending to a long day. To celebrate our 75th Anniversary, there will be a surprise dessert for everyone so you do not have to bring one as in past year.
Last Year’s Results
Last year the weather was lousy and the road conditions were treacherous, but we still had 117 birders in the field and 108 Home Counters, for a total of 225 participants. The number of birders in the field was about 30 less than our average number for the past eight years, but the number of Home Counters set a new high record. Some people who had planned to go out all day were stuck at home because of the road conditions, so they counted birds at home. The entire group identified 128 species on count day and two more species were added during Count Week. This is just a couple of species below the average number for the past 20 years. Our record, established in 2005, is 140 plus two more during count week.
We recorded 113,678 individual birds. This is above average for the past twenty years, but does not surpass the record of 129,874 in 2000. You can view results of last year’s ECBC, as well as all the other Christmas Bird Counts in North America, at christmasbirdcount.org. Our count code is OREU.
We hope you can join us for this year’s ECBC. We look forward to seeing you on Sunday, January 1st!