Citizen scientists participate in annual bird count

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

Birders from around the Rio Grande Valley are once again gathering at avian hotspots in order to participate in the annual Christmas Bird Count.

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is one of the largest citizen-scientist initiatives in the country. Through it, amateur scientists take stock of what kinds of birds exist in their local communities, and in what kinds of numbers.

Locally, two bird counts take place, Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge Manager Boyd Blihovde said — the Coastal Tip and the Laguna Atascosa counts.

Volunteers fanned out across South Padre Island, Port Isabel and surrounding areas Wednesday for the Coastal Tip count. The effort was spearheaded by lifelong birder, Bob Severson.

“We’ll be counting 15 mile diameter circle that includes South Padre Island, Boca Chica, west of San Martin Lake, north to Laguna Vista, basically,” Severson said Tuesday. Over 35 participants had signed up to help out, he said.

Blihovde said the CBC is, “A way to monitor trends in bird populations.” Though not as rigorous as a more formal scientific study, the data generated by the bird count can help wildlife experts to discern trends in bird populations

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