Census of birds conducted at local refuge

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, February 16, 2010

United States citizens aren’t the only ones being counted in the 2010 Census.

Saturday morning, participants in the St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge Great Backyard Bird Count conducted their own bird census.

Looking out a window at the headquarters office in Sibley, participants identified and counted birds that fed at three different bird feeders set up in the yard behind the office.

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“(The event) piques people’s interest and gives them a purpose to sit and watch birds,” Refuge Manager Bob Strader said.

The event is affiliated with the National Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

The groups promoted a nationwide bird count from Feb. 12-15, and encouraged participants to send in their observations to www.birdcount.org, so scientists can study the abundance and distributions of birds across the country.

Participants in Saturday’s event counted a variety of species of birds at the feeders at one time, including brown-headed cow birds, gold finches, mourning doves, chipping sparrows, cardinals, pine siskens and purple finches.

Craig Lyons, 17, a senior at Wilkinson County Christian Academy in Woodville, attended the event to learn more about birds in the area for his Science Olympiad ornithology studies.

“I’m learning about (the birds) behaviors and colors that identify them,” Lyons said.