Climate adds gravity to Birdathon

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Past Event

12th Annual Birdathon

  • Saturday, May 12, 2007, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Carpenter Ranch, PO Box 955 , Hayden, CO
  • Not available / $10

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— Timber parrots won't be on the list May 12, when Yampatika hosts its 12th annual Birdathon in conjunction with International Migratory Bird Day.

Magpies (sometimes colloquially referred to as timber parrots), redwing blackbirds and courting robins are the birds that commonly wake residents of the valley on spring mornings. However, unless they are dedicated birdwatchers, people may not realize how many birds visit the Yampa Valley, at least in transit, during the spring.

"At last year's Birdathon, we not only counted more than 90 species, but observed birds that are rare to this area, including lazuli buntings, white-winged doves, double-crested cormorants and the bald eagle," Karen Vail said. Vail is the senior naturalist at Yampatika, a nonprofit environmental education organization based in Steamboat Springs.

Yampatika is inviting interested people to rise early May 12 and join other birdwatchers to participate in the bird count. People are being asked to register in advance so organizers can divide participants into groups of similar experience. Novices will be matched up with a veteran to help ensure they have a rewarding experience.

International Migratory Bird Day typically involves several hundred thousand people in events similar to the one Yampatika sponsors. The intent is to gather data about the variety of birds making long migrations from breeding grounds in North America and their wintering grounds in Mexico, Central and South America.

This year's bird day takes place against the backdrop of climate change, which has the potential to alter the migration habits of birds. Historically, humans have been able to measure the changing seasons by the arrival of different species of migrating birds. Farmers have even used migration patterns as a basis for planting their crop at the right time.

- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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