This year is the National Audubon Society‘s 119th annual Christmas Bird Count, and Sitka will be one of several Alaska communities to host a local event, with Sitka’s event set for Saturday, Dec. 29.
During this event, local teams will hike around various sections of Sitka in an attempt to count as many different birds they can find. There will be a planning meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 26, at the Alaska Raptor Center.
The Christmas Bird Count, which started nationally in 1900 with Alaska’s first event in 1941, involves thousands of bird-watchers, hikers, nature lovers and more each year. The count is for a 24-hour period and local events can take place from Dec. 14 to Jan. 5 this winter to still count. This event is open to all ages, and many families participate.
Last year, on Dec. 30, 2017, in Sitka, there were 72 different bird species spotted by 57 Sitka participants. The most common bird seen was the dark-eyed junco, with 944 counted. They also counted 441 Pacific loons and 410 common ravens. You can find Sitka 2017 stats here. You can check out other 2017 stats (and 2018 stats) by clicking this link.
In 2015-16, the Alaska Audubon Society reported 1,157 Alaska counters in 37 counting areas recorded 149 different species and 123,658 total birds. Kodiak’s Narrow Cape-Kalsin Bay recorded the most species in Alaska with 74, followed by Sitka with 68 (Alaska overall stats aren’t available for the 2016 or 2017 Christmas Bird Counts).
For more information, contact Jen Cedarleaf at 738-0181 or Victoria Vosburg, DVM, at 738-8661.