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Swan Valley Christmas Bird Count

Seeley Swan Pathfinder
December 10, 1998

The Annual Swan Valley Audubon Christmas Bird Count will be held Monday, December 19. The event is co-sponsored by the Grounded Eagle Foundation and the Flathead Audubon Society. Organizer Rod Ash is looking for volunteers to help cover the Swan Valley count circle. Birders of all levels of expertise are encouraged to participate.

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is a nationwide tradition, begun in 1900.

This year will be the 99th time that Audubon members and other interested birders have spread out over the country to search for and record all the species they can find in one day. It was initiated by the Audubon Society as a social event. Since then, it has become the longest continuously running bird count in the nation, and so has become an important source of valuable information on bird population trends, and nesting and migration habits.

Each count covers a circle 7 1/2 miles in radius; the same circle is sampled every year. Last year over 1700 different counts were sponsored by Audubon Societies throughout the country. Twenty-four circles were covered in Montana.

This will be the sixth year for the Swan Valley Bird Count. The circle for this Count is centered on the U.S. Forest Service Condon Work Center. It extends from Salmon Prairie at the north end, to Holland Lake at the south. In the past, 35 to 40 species have been recorded.

Anyone who wishes to participate in the 1998 Swan Valley Count should contact Rod Ash at 754-2289. As in past years, participants will gather for a potluck compilation dinner after the Count. The dinner will be at the Swan Ecosystem Center/Condon Workstation, starting at 5:00 p.m.

Flathead Audubon will also host three other local Christmas Bird Counts this holiday season, and will conduct an exploratory count in preparation for inaugurating a Kalispell Christmas Bird Count in the year 2000.

Scheduled for December 19 are the Counts at Bigfork and Eureka (organized by the Dancing Prairie Sub-unit). The Ninepipe Refuge Count will be Sunday, December 20.

The exploratory Kalispell count will take place on Sunday, January 3. For information on the Bigfork Count or the exploratory Kalispell count, contact Dan Casey, 857-3143. For the Ninepipe Count, call Jim Rogers, 883-3611. For Eureka Count, call Lewis Young, 889-3492 (evenings).

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