The 40th John Day Christmas Bird Count will be on Saturday, Dec. 19.

If they are open, we will meet at the Outpost Restaurant at 6:30 a.m., earlier if you want breakfast. If they are not open, we will meet at the Elks Lodge. Due to the risk of transmitting COVID-19, teams will be comprised of only persons that share space continually or are driving separate vehicles. We will return to the Elks Lodge (which has been closed for several weeks) at 5 p.m. to hand in checklists and briefly share the day’s adventures. As has been the case for the Grant County Bird Club most of this year, there will not be the usual potluck dinner.

Participants should dress warmly and be prepared for that day’s weather. They should also bring binoculars, field guide, lunch and beverages as most groups will be out the full day and out of town. Households that are within the circle’s boundaries and have bird feeders are encouraged to participate by noting what species are visiting their feeders and your best guess as to how many different individual birds of each species were present during the day. For further information, contact Tom Winters at 541-542-2006 or tjwinters1951@gmail.com.

Since the National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count began in 1900, it has relied on the dedication and commitment of volunteer citizen scientists. In other words, it all starts with anyone willing to spend some time counting birds. The Christmas Bird Count season is Dec. 14 through Jan. 5 each year and each compiler chooses a date within this period. There is a specific methodology to the CBC, but everyone can participate. The count takes place within “Count Circles,” which focus on specific geographical areas. Each circle is led by a Count Compiler, Tom Winters having been the compiler for the John Day count for over 30 years. The John Day “circle” boundaries are Four Corners and Beech Creek Road on the north, the John Day river crossing west of Mt Vernon, the Canyon Creek crossing five miles south of Canyon City and Hall’s Hill to the east.

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