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First Christmas bird count held in Spirit River

A goshawk flying away while a pigeon struggled in its claws was one of many moments highlighted from the first Christmas bird count in Spirit River. Those were two of the species noticed by Laura Frost and her group of counters that went out over the weekend for the first ever event in Spirit River. She says there were around 12 different species counted in the area.

“There were a number of chickadees and and blue jays. There were some waxed-winged birds. There were lots of pigeons and redpoll birds. We had two big flocks of redpolls. Some of the more exciting birds, one group found a gyrfalcon and my group found a goshawk.”

She says out of any of the species, they counted the most house sparrows.

Frost explains that she has been involved in various counts around the province for about 20 years. She says it doesn’t only get people outside, the count is used by conservation biologists to determine population trends and where the birds are going. All of the counts acorss the continent are added onto the bird studies Canada website.

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“You can watch what different populations of species are doing across North America over the years and over the decades.”

The count started in the early 1900’s and Frost hopes to continue the event in Spirit River as an annual event. There are already Christmas counts held every year in Grande Prairie and Beaverlodge.

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