BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK – Nature lovers and birders of all levels of experience will gather Jan. 5, 2017, at Bryce Canyon National Park to participate in the world’s longest running citizen bird census.
The National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count, now in its 117th year, is an annual event that brings together volunteers across the United States, South America, Canada and distant Pacific islands, to assist scientists in the monumental task of assessing the health of bird populations.
The event is free and will begin at 8:30 a.m. with hot drinks and pastries in the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center.
Beginners will be paired with experienced birders and groups will be provided with everything needed to conduct the count within the 15-mile radius assigned to the park.
Following the morning bird count, a chili lunch and souvenir T-shirts will be provided back at the Visitor Center, thanks to the Bryce Canyon Natural History Association.
Currently the park is looking for volunteers to help with the 2016 count. If you are interested in participating, contact Ranger Peter Densmore at 435-834-4744. Those who volunteer will receive free park admission.
Additionally, anyone in the local area who would like to contribute data by counting from home feeders is invited to contact the park as well.
There are 257 documented species of birds in Utah, with the most recent being the Laughing Gull, according to the website utahbirds.org.
Other counts have been held locally in the Kanab, Boulder and Escalante areas. A separate count will also be conducted Jan. 4, 2017, in Glen Canyon. Information on other gatherings in Utah can be found at utahbirds.org.
Directions to Bryce Canyon National Park, located on state Highway 63 near Bryce, Utah, can be found here.