Wednesday, December 08, 1999

Birders will scour skies of county parks

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        More than 60 volunteers have signed up for this weekend's winter bird count at Hamilton County parks, the 27th year the park district has conducted the one-day count.

        The count enables naturalists to keep tabs on the populations of bird species.

        “I would expect a pretty good variety.” said Carol Mundy, a park district naturalist who coordinates the count. “We haven't had any long sustained periods of cold, so there are birds that have moved down from northern quarters but haven't moved yet into the southern part of the United States.”

        Last year, 75 volunteers turned out for the count, tallying more than 22,000 birds at 16 county parks, the second-highest total in the county's 26-year history. The number represented 69 species.

        Ms. Mundy said they conduct the count to get an idea on how well bird populations are faring in the region.

        “One year by itself is interesting, but it doesn't have a lot of validity in knowing what a population is,” said Ms. Mundy. “When you collect data, the building of data, over long periods of time, then you can see these trends. You can map it out and get a feel for how populations are growing or decreasing, based on weather and other factors.”

        For instance, she said, the declining populations of Carolina wrens and bluebirds of two decades ago could be traced to the hard winters of 1977-78, while the burgeoning populations of Canada geese of recent years can be attributed in part to mild winters, feeding by humans, and a hospitable environment of growing suburban areas and office parks with open water and fountains.

        Cas and Gary Daley of Colerain Township will be among the volunteers. They have been participating in the bird counts since the early 1980s.

        “We just love to be out and about,” said Mrs. Daley, who said she and her husband are serious birders. “We just ventured into it and decided it was fun.”

        Part of the allure, she said, is not knowing what kind of unusual or uncommon species they may come across.

        Participants should dress appropriately, Ms. Mundy said, because it is a long day spent outdoors.

        ×ah ×cf,42,9.6,9.9 The bird count will be Saturday between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at Hamilton County parks. Park official ask that Those inter ested in participating should call 521-7275 to register. There is no fee. "


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