Kids Take Part in Bird Count Tradition

By January 10, 2014Education, Event

On Jan. 3, RMBO held its second annual Christmas Bird Count for Kids at Barr Lake State Park in Colorado. It was a truly spectacular day of birding, thanks in part to unseasonal 60-degree weather.

Turnout was great with 50 children and 25 adults, who were split into seven groups. Six of the groups, consisting of 7- to 18-year-olds, ventured out to count birds around Barr Lake and learn about bird identification and conservation with the help of Volunteer Naturalists from RMBO and local birding experts from Denver Field Ornithologists. The seventh group, consisting of 3- to 6-year-olds, participated in Budding Birders Camp, which included a puppet show about winter birds, identification and citizen science.

Red-tailed Hawk by Lynn Willcockson

A Red-tailed Hawk watches over participants during lunchtime. Photo by Lynn Willcockson.


A Budding Birder watches the puppet show. Photo by the author.

Over lunch, groups reconvened at RMBO’s Environmental Learning Center, tallied their results and gave presentations of their highlights. The great weather allowed everyone to enjoy picnic lunches outside, with a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk watching over them from an elm tree. The event concluded with a presentation from Nature’s Educators featuring live raptors and information about how birds survive harsh winter conditions.

Overall, participants counted roughly 11,000 individual birds (10,000 of which were Canada Geese) of 37 different species, including 25 Bald Eagles, two Prairie Falcons, Great Horned Owls, Rough-legged Hawks, a Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintails and Ring-necked Ducks.

Why a Count for Kids?

Every year for over a century, tens of thousands of volunteers take part in the National Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count, the longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations – and to help guide conservation action. This rigorous event often does not include young children, so Christmas Bird Counts for Kids introduce the next generation of stewards to the grand old Audubon tradition and engages them in the natural world.


Participants and volunteers gather in the amphitheater.

Thank you to the families, volunteers and everyone who made RMBO’s count such a fun event. Here’s what one participant had to say about the day:

“From the introductory training, to the field work, to the kids’ presentations of findings and the raptor show, it was a superbly entertaining day, and heartwarming to see the children consistently treated with such respect. … Thank you for what you do for the birds, for us humans who love to watch and listen to them, and especially for the way you are investing in the future through educating children.”

If you couldn’t make it, please join us for next year’s Christmas Bird Count for Kids!

View more photos from the Christmas Bird Count for Kids on Facebook »

~ Tyler Edmondson, Community Education Coordinator