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Annual bird count in Moncton provides clues to climate change impact

MONCTON – Birdwatchers say the Moncton Christmas Bird Count continues to provide important information about our changing environment.

Roger Leblanc organized the count in Moncton this year, which is part of the National Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count.

This is the society’s 115th annual count.

Leblanc says collecting data over such a long period gives people an accurate measure into how climate change has been affecting wildlife.

“You can imagine 12,000 counts and tens of thousands of people doing it all through North America for a hundred or more years. It gives you a set of data and statistics that can help you figure out what’s happening with birds and even with our planet in a way,” he said, while holding a set of binoculars.

In Moncton, the count was split into 12 different zones.

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Leblanc says natural areas are among the best places to find birds.

“You’re trying to find the natural spots in the city,” he said “For instance here around the river, that has not changed over the last 200 years really.”

People taking part in the count say the more they participate, the more they learn about birds.

Louise Nichols started counting birds for the project a few years ago.

“It’s a way of getting into birding I guess by coming out to this count and you learn something and start doing it more frequently,” she said. “If things are warming, you start getting birds here that are not normally here this time of year.”

Although the count includes thousands of participants spread throughout the Americas, Leblanc says there are still many unanswered questions as to how some birds are flourishing while others are disappearing.

“There’s a lot of them that are adversely affected by humans so there’s less of them. And some learn to adapt and you seen more of them,” he said. “It’s a complicated thing and it’s not an easy answer.”

The complete Audubon Christmas Bird Count runs from Dec. 14 to Jan. 5, 2015.

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