Many organizations sponsor a day of service as a way of celebrating Martin Luther King Day. This year, Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory followed suit by hosting its 3rd annual Christmas Bird Count for Kids on Jan. 19 as a way for local families to give back to their community through citizen science.
The day was truly spectacular! We had 50-degree weather, which made for excellent birding in January at Barr Lake State Park in Colorado. A record total of 99 participants took part in the event, consisting of 61 children and 38 adults who were split into 10 groups.
Nine of the groups, with 7- to 18-year-olds, ventured out to count birds around Barr Lake and learn about bird identification and conservation with the help of RMBO, Barr Lake State Park volunteers and local birding experts from Denver Field Ornithologists. The 10th group, with 3- to 6-year-olds, participated in Budding Birders Camp, which included a puppet show about winter birds, identification, citizen science and an exploration hike.
After the count, groups reconvened and, over lunch, tallied their results and prepared presentations of their highlights. Overall, roughly 10,000 individual birds were counted (8,000 of which were Canada Geese) of an event record 47 different species, including 63 Bald Eagles, a Ferruginous Hawk, two Barn Owls, two American White Pelicans, two American Pipits and three Canvasbacks. The event concluded with an introduction to the Junior Duck Stamp Program and a workshop teaching participants how to create an original piece of artwork to enter in the program’s annual art contest.
Thank you to the families, volunteers and everyone who made this such a fun event. If you couldn’t make it, please join us for next year’s Christmas Bird Count for Kids!
~ Tyler Edmondson, Community Education Coordinator