A Black-capped Chickadee perches in a tree near 100 Mile House. (Paul Foth photo)

A Black-capped Chickadee perches in a tree near 100 Mile House. (Paul Foth photo)

Christmas Bird Count seeking volunteers

South Cariboo event slated for Dec. 17

The 100 Mile House Christmas Bird Count is organizing teams to catalogue the South Cariboo’s birds next month.

Count coordinator Paul Foth said he’s looking forward to getting out into the South Cariboo Dec. 17 to tally up all the birds he can find. This is his second year organizing the local count, but only the first year he’s able to participate since moving to 100 Mile House last year.

“I’m excited. It’s always fun to be just a part of the community event while it’s going on. I’ve done Christmas Bird Counts for quite a number of years in the Fraser Valley and Creston so it will be good to have my first one here in the Cariboo,” Foth said. “It’s fun and a great way to get to know local birds if you don’t and this data is really valuable for bird conservation long term.”

While Foth can rely on a core of dedicated birders he still welcomes new participants to join the count. Those looking to sign up for the day-long event, starting around sunrise and ending at sunset, can contact him at 250-948-0849 or gopishingbc@gmail.com. He advises attendees to bring binoculars, warm clothes and a field guide.

READ MORE: Volunteers discover more than 1,000 feathered fowl in 100 Mile bird count

Foth and his team will be covering 100 Mile House’s count circle, which extends from the west end of Horse Lake to Gateway, north to the 108 Mile Ranch and south to 93 Mile. His team will be split up into pairs to cover parts of the zone with more experienced birders teamed up with novices.

“The goal is just to find as many species as we can within each count area on the day and those will be tallied up for our totals,” Foth said. “Last year we had a really great year because it was a bit warmer. There was some open water on Horse Lake, Bridge Creek and even on the 108 Mile Lake so we had some waterfowl.”

They counted 50 different species of birds but Foth said he doesn’t expect that to be the case this year, based on the weather. Rather than waterfowl, he predicts more year-round local species and winter migrants will be found.

These include crows, ravens, woodpeckers, sparrows, finches, pine grosbeaks, common redpoles, red crossbills, bohemian waxwings, bald eagles, hawks and owls. Foth said that there are also always surprises that can occur, depending on weather conditions. After the sun sets, Foth said he intends to stay out for a few hours to listen for owls.

“Whoever is doing the zone in 100 Mile House itself, which includes Centennial Park, should look out for house sparrows, house finches and American dippers along the creek,” Foth said. “If they’re more out around the Exeter area, I’d be looking for bald eagles and ravens at the landfill.”

A week before the count, Foth intends to hold a virtual workshop for new birders to acquaint them with some of the birds they can expect during the count.



patrick.davies@100milefreepress.net

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After the sun sets on the day of the 100 Mile House Christmas bird count, organizer Paul Foth intends to go out at night and listen for the hoots of owls such as this Northern Hawk Owl. (Paul Foth photo)

After the sun sets on the day of the 100 Mile House Christmas bird count, organizer Paul Foth intends to go out at night and listen for the hoots of owls such as this Northern Hawk Owl. (Paul Foth photo)